1. A brief explanation of “gang stalking”
2. America’s “deep state”
3. Crimes by U.S. law enforcement & intelligence agencies
4. Oversight of law enforcement & intelligence agencies
5. Published news reports ***
6. History: COINTELPRO, MKUltra, Red Squads, & the Stasi
7. The national & international scope of gang stalking
8. Investigation, Surveillance, & Harassment Tactics
9. Mobbing & workplace violence
10. Selection of targeted individuals
11. The organizational structure of gang stalking
12. Social conformity & obedience to authority
13. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) & gang stalking
15. The wall of silence which surrounds “gang stalking”
16. Shining a light on the cockroaches
1. A brief explanation of “gang stalking”
Based on Google Trends data, the term “gang stalking” began appearing among online searches circa 2005. Coincidentally or not, that was during the post-9/11 expansion of America’s national security state activities, which included illegal domestic mass surveillance by the NSA, the use of torture at black site prisons by the CIA, the militarization of police departments, etc. In any case, an extensive review of relevant published news reports and other information suggests that the term “gang stalking” – and most, but not all, online references to it – is disinformation from the U.S. intelligence community, intended to obfuscate the nature of a set of real tactics sometimes referred to in the security industry as “disruption” operations – as in, disruption of the life of an individual targeted by public and/or private security operatives. It has nothing to do with criminal gangs – that’s the disinformation part. It does involve stalking though – intense, long-term surveillance and harassment, involving varying levels of criminality.
Most famously, the methods were used by communist East Germany’s Stasi (state police), who referred to the strategy as Zersetzung (German for “decomposition” or “corrosion” – a reference to the severe psychological, social, and financial effects upon the victim). Some self-proclaimed victims have described the process as “no-touch torture” – because the tactics generate minimal forensic evidence.
Tactics include – but are not limited to – slander, blacklisting, “mobbing” (intense, organized harassment in the workplace), “black bag jobs” (residential break-ins), 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. In some cases, the harassment escalates to physical violence.
As for the scope of such activities in the US or other nations, I have no specific information or guesses. This website does contain links, however, to most of the important published English language news reports related to this subject – through 2018 anyway. For reasons I try to address in my accompanying analysis, it seems clear that some of the published media reports – and most of the websites about this topic – are disinformation. Their existence suggests that this form of police state social control is at least widespread enough that an effort is being made to discredit claims about its existence. The disinformation goal is to associate all reports of such crimes with conspiracy theory idiocy – rather than associating them with the well-documented history of crimes by rogue spy agencies, police agencies, and private security firms in America, dating back to the 19th century.
Stalking by corrupt cops, spies, and security goons is not only unethical, it’s also illegal under both federal and state law. It clearly violates, for example, the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unwarranted searches, the Sixth Amendment, which guarantees the right to a trial, and the Eighth Amendment, which prohibits “cruel and unusual punishments.” Such operations also violate similar laws in state constitutions. In addition, “stalking” is specifically prohibited by the criminal codes of every state in America.
Analysis of news and other information about intelligence agencies, police agencies, and private security-intelligence firms is aided by an awareness of the concept of a “deep state.”
Theodore Roosevelt on the deep state
Theodore Roosevelt (U.S. President from 1901 to 1909), said this in an August 1912 speech:
“Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible government, to befoul the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of the day.”
Mike Lofgren on the deep state
In the 2014 TV interview and essay linked below, Mike Lofgren, a former congressional staff member, offers a sort of unified theory of the current U.S. power structure which attempts to explain the connections between Washington, Wall Street, the Pentagon, Silicon Valley, the intelligence community and law enforcement. This big picture view is helpful to understand U.S. national security and law enforcement policy – of which domestic counterintelligence operations are an element.
Other observers – for example, Peter Dale Scott – have written about the distinction between the formal elected government and the informal “shadow government” or “deep state” which shapes policies, so Lofgren’s views on this subject are not entirely unique, but he does an excellent job of explaining the concept. He also speaks with Washington insider experience, having spent nearly three decades as a congressional staffer, including serving on the powerful House and Senate Budget Committees.
Lofgren describes the deep state as a hybrid of corporate America and the national security state.
“There is another government concealed behind the one that is visible at either end of Pennsylvania Avenue, a hybrid entity of public and private institutions ruling the country according to consistent patterns in season and out, connected to, but only intermittently controlled by, the visible state whose leaders we choose. My analysis of this phenomenon is not an exposé of a secret, conspiratorial cabal; the state within a state is hiding mostly in plain sight.”
Mike Lofgren appeared on Moyers and Company in February 2014 to discuss his views on the deep state. Here is the video.
This webpage features an essay by Lofgren on the same topic.
Here is a webpage of reactions to Lofgren’s portrayal of the deep rot in Washington. They include comments such as this one by Heidi Boghosian, director of the National Lawyers Guild.
“The term Deep State aptly conveys how the private security industry has melded with government. It is soldered by plutocracy, perpetual war, reduction of industrial capacity, US exceptionalism and political malfunction. Lofgren is a credible and welcome interpreter of how these factors combine to exert control over us.”
Noam Chomsky on the deep state
Political theorist, linguistics professor, and dissident, Noam Chomsky, has long been among the most influential critics of U.S. foreign policy, capitalism, and the establishment news media. Chomsky describes his political perspective as “anarchism,” which – as in this interview – he defines as follows:
“[Anarchism] covers a lot of ground, but the core principle comes straight out of classical liberalism and the Enlightenment, that any form of authority and domination has a burden of proof to bear; it has to demonstrate that it’s legitimate…If not, it ought to be dismantled. That’s anarchism.”
Naturally, such a view commits one to a harsh assessment of US spy agencies and their corporate associates – including the mainstream press outlets. This BBC interview from February 1996, which explores Chomsky’s views on the news media, shows his effectiveness at explaining systemic corruption. Also evident is his awareness of the particular threat to democracy posed by secret police agencies. Chomsky discusses the nature of press censorship in the US and the UK, noting that members of the news media – such as the interviewer – are chosen for their jobs, in part, because they’re perceived to be conformists. Starting at 16:00, Chomsky educates the interviewer about the FBI’s COINTELPRO (counterintelligence program) scandal, which Chomsky characterizes as “vastly more significant than Watergate,” and which included “political assassination.” He describes the FBI as “the national political police.”
In a speech Chomsky gave in Bonn, Germany on June 17, 2013, he explained that the standard view of capitalist democracy taught to American schoolchildren is essentially fictional.
“….Roughly 70% of the population – the lower 70% on the wealth/income scale – they have no influence on policy whatsoever. They’re effectively disenfranchised. As you move up the wealth/income ladder, you get a little bit more influence on policy. When you get to the top, which is maybe a tenth of one percent, people essentially get what they want, i.e. they determine the policy. So the proper term for that is not democracy; it’s plutocracy.”
Chomsky notes that this arrangement is not unique to America:
“Europe, incidentally, is much worse….[The general public has voted against the European Union’s economic model,] yet economic policies have changed little in response to one electoral defeat after another.”
According to Chomsky, America is essentially a one-party state, and the one party is the business party. He argues that this general power structure has been the same since the nation’s founding. Chomsky’s conclusion:
“The general picture is pretty grim, I think. But there are shafts of light. As always through history, there are two trajectories. One leads towards oppression and destruction. The other leads towards freedom and justice. And as always – to adapt Martin Luther King’s famous phrase – there are ways to bend the arc of the moral universe towards justice and freedom…”
Michael J. Glennon on the deep state
In October 2014, The Boston Globe published an article on the views of Tufts University political scientist Michael J. Glennon regarding the deep state. If you think that things like voting and writing letters to your political representatives might help slow America’s mutation into a police state, you might want to re-evaluate how far things have already deteriorated.
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.
Asked whether there was any hope of reining in the rogue elements of America’s national security apparatus, Glennon said this:
“The ultimate problem is the pervasive political ignorance on the part of the American people. And indifference to the threat that is emerging from these concealed institutions. That is where the energy for reform has to come from: the American people. Not from government. Government is very much the problem here. The people have to take the bull by the horns.”
Michael Parenti on the deep state
Parenti, who received his PhD in political science from Yale University, is the author of 23 books and many articles (and is one of the few people who might have bested the journalist Christopher Hitchens in a debate). In a 1996 piece, Parenti described “the gangster state” (i.e., the deep state) this way:
“Today in the much vaunted western democracies there exists a great deal of unaccountable state power whose primary function is to maintain the existing politico-economic structure, using surveillance, infiltration, sabotage, judicial harassment, disinformation, trumped-up charges and false arrests, tax harassment, blackmail, and even violence and assassination to make the world safe for those who own it.
There exists a state within the state, known as the national security state, a component of misgovernment centering around top officers in the CIA, DIA, FBI, the Pentagon, and policymakers in the Executive Office of the White House. These elements have proven themselves capable of perpetrating terrible crimes against dissidents at home and abroad.”
Anyone who is curious about whether the various criminal rodents who perform the dirty work for the deep state ever take an interest in people such as Michael Parenti, who expose their criminality, should listen to the following. At 29:39 in this interview, Parenti is asked about the illegal domestic spying by the National Security Agency (NSA) which was revealed by NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden. Parenti says that the feds are not merely engaged in surveillance, but are also engaged in overt surveillance (“harassment,” as he describes it) intended to intimidate Americans by making it clear to them that they are being spied upon – and that he has personally experienced it.
Chris Hedges on the deep state
As a war correspondent, Chris 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.
For many years, Hedges has warned that America is governed by a corrupt, predatory elite, and that the U.S. is essentially a corporate oligarchy and a militaristic empire. He often reports on the signs of decay engendered by the nation’s corrupt power structures: social pathologies, infrastructure neglect, extreme inequality, illegal domestic spying, the militarization of policing, war crimes, lying by US intelligence agencies and their assets in the corporate press, 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.
A September 16, 2019 column by Hedges offers a superb account of America’s deep state, and the grave threats it poses for the general public:
There are two forms of government in the United States. There is the visible government—the White House, Congress, the courts, state legislatures and governorships—and the invisible government, or deep state, where anonymous technocrats, intelligence operatives, generals, bankers, corporations and lobbyists manage foreign and domestic policy regardless of which political party holds a majority.
The most powerful and important organs in the invisible government are the nation’s bloated and unaccountable intelligence agencies. They are the vanguard of the invisible government. They oversee a vast “black world,” tasked with maintaining the invisible government’s lock on power. They spy on and smear domestic and foreign critics, fix elections, bribe, extort, torture, assassinate and flood the airwaves with “black propaganda.” They are impervious to the chaos and human destruction they leave in their wake.
… There are periodic glimpses of the moral squalor and ineptitude that define this shadow world, such as those provided by the 1970s hearings led by Sen. Frank Church and the leaking of photographs of prisoners being tortured at Abu Ghraib in Iraq. But those who attempt to defy or expose the pernicious inner workings, including Edward Snowden and Julian Assange, are usually discredited, persecuted, silenced and sometimes “disappeared.” The invisible government justifies its secrecy and criminality as necessary in the face of existential threats, posed first by communism and later by Islamic terrorism. The ends always justify the means. Anything, no matter how immoral or criminal, is permissible.
Russell Tice on the deep state
In this September 2013 article at truthout.org, National Security Agency (NSA) whistle-blower Russell Tice addresses the core question about the deep state: Is the upper echelon of the American intelligence community running the country?
George Carlin on the deep state
This 3-minute rant by comedian George Carlin captures some of the core points about the deep state.
Mapping the deep state
A non-profit website called LittleSis – a play on Orwell’s “Big Brother” – tracks connections among those with power. Here, for example, is a map of corporate donations to police departments and organizations.
A few more terms…
Counterintelligence is the detection and countering of threats posed by enemy subversion, espionage, and sabotage. Counterintelligence operations include surveillance (spying on enemies), sabotage (disruption of enemies’ activities), and disinformation (efforts to deceive enemies and – when it serves the objectives of the counterintelligence program – the public). A wide range of activities can qualify as counterintelligence operations, depending upon how a targeted person or group is deemed to be an “enemy,” and what activities and thoughts are deemed to be “subversive.” The FBI famously spied on Martin Luther King, Jr., for example, and even tried to blackmail him, on the grounds that his views were subversive.
Although some of the strategies and tactics associated with counterintelligence operations are used by private security personnel, for example, on behalf of corporate clients, they are most frequently used by government intelligence agencies. Here, for example, is a description of the organizational nature of counterintelligence, in a Wikipedia entry:
“In most countries the counterintelligence mission is spread over multiple organizations, though one usually predominates. There is usually a domestic counterintelligence service, usually part of a larger organization such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States.”
Uses of counterintelligence tactics by security personnel can be completely legal – for example, a government wiretap authorized by a legitimate search warrant. In other cases, the tactics are purely illegal – for example, “black bag jobs” (break-ins) and computer hacking by private investigators. Often though, the tactics are in a grey area of dubious legality. For example, depending upon the context, a “warning” can actually be a veiled threat. Similarly, if an agent or private investigator contacts a friend, relative, or associate of a targeted person, under the pretense of conducting an “investigation,” such contact can actually be an act of slander – the intentional destruction of the reputation and relationships of the target (even if it is difficult to legally prove).
COINTELPRO (short for “Counterintelligence Program”) was a secret, illegal program run by the FBI from 1956 until it was exposed by civilian activists in 1971. The U.S. Senate’s Church Committee investigations in the mid-1970s found that, during the COINTELPRO era, FBI agents and their various accomplices systematically spied on, slandered, terrorized, blackmailed, and committed acts of violence (including murder) against American citizens who were deemed to be politically subversive by the FBI’s right-wing director, J. Edgar Hoover.
Law Enforcement Intelligence Units (LEIUs) – also called Red Squads – are intelligence units within local police departments (especially urban police departments). In addition to performing legitimate law enforcement activities, such as infiltrating criminal organizations, LEIUs have been used since the late 1800s to spy on and disrupt groups which are viewed as subversive by corporations and politicians. In 1956, the same year the FBI initiated its COINTELPRO program, 26 Red Squads gathered in San Francisco and formed an organization for sharing confidential intelligence. They adopted the name Law Enforcement Intelligence Unit. In 2008, the organization changed its name to the “Association of Law Enforcement Intelligence Units,” but they retained the original acronym, LEIU. Because of its status as a private (although quasi-governmental) entity, the association’s files are not subject to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.
Based on their history, their reported connections with U.S. intelligence agencies, their secrecy, their quasi-governmental status, their members’ skill sets, their national network of professional connections, their organization’s membership of both current and former law enforcement personnel, and anecdotal reports, LEIUs are very possibly the main source of the illegal spying and harassment referred to by such terms as “disruption” and “gang stalking.”
Surveillance Role Players (SRPs) perform jobs whose nature the federal government chooses to keep secret from the American public. During the past decade or so, numerous job advertisements for SRPs have been posted by military contractors. From the advertisements, it is clear that the jobs involve some type of domestic intelligence operations, but the specific elements of the job are never described. America’s news media outlets have shown no interest in this topic, perhaps because it does not involve the Kardashians. Interestingly, the job listings specify that these are mostly part-time positions – which presumably would make it easier to conceal the jobs from neighbors and others who know the people performing such “work.” The job listings specify that applicants must have active secret clearances and counterintelligence training, although the stated education requirement is often just a high school diploma. Some of the ads note that an element of the job is to “coordinate with local law enforcement.”
Although most Americans are unaware of it, the U.S. has a huge supply of people with security clearances – over 5.1 million people as of 2013– almost a third of whom worked for private firms. Nearly one-third of the Americans with top secret clearances are private contractors, rather than government employees. Whether SRPs are engaged in stalking some of their fellow citizens will probably remain a mystery in the near future. People who like easy money – and who are afraid to violate their security clearances – are far more plentiful in America than individuals with the courage and integrity needed to become whistle-blowers.
Disruption – in the parlance of counterintelligence agents – is a strategy for neutralizing an individual (or group) believed to pose a potential threat to the clients or members of a security agency. For example, if there is no legal basis for arresting and prosecuting someone, and assassination is not a legal or practical option, an alternative is a long-term campaign of intense surveillance and harassment. The goal – at least ostensibly – is to limit the person’s potential to create trouble; this is done by keeping him or her distracted, agitated, and preoccupied with various challenges and provocations, by undermining the individual’s social and professional relationships, and by otherwise interfering with the person’s life in various ways.
Unlike the FBI’s COINTELPRO operations, “disruption” is a strategy, rather than a program – although there might currently be one or more secret programs which involve the strategy and (often) illegal tactics associated with disruption. In recent years, classified documents made public by National Security Agency (NSA) whistle-blower Edward Snowden exposed that the U.S. government and its private contractors engage in illegal domestic mass surveillance, and lie about it. Additional revelations in recent years include news reports – and a U.S. Senate report – which showed that the CIA and its contractors torture people and lie about it. Such revelations, among many others, add plausibility to reports by self-proclaimed victims of organized stalking.
In some cases, as with blacklisting, the motive for disruption activities can simply be revenge by the people who initiated the process, rather than a belief that the target actually poses a threat. Similarly – and this applies to a lot of activities in America’s massive “national security” industry – the actual primary objective can simply be to justify paychecks for the various bureaucrats, contractors, and agents involved.
Although disruption operations can be born out of illegitimate motives, such as an informant’s desire for vengeance, or to fulfill de facto quotas – the harassment can, in effect, validate itself through provocation: If you terrorize and spy on someone over a long period, he or she is likely to eventually respond in ways which can be used to rationalize labeling the person as a potential threat.
“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.
Although the general public is mostly unfamiliar with the practice, references to “disruption” operations – described as such – do occasionally appear in the news media. 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:
“The FBI didn’t respond to emails asking basic questions such as what qualifies as a disruption, [or] why the number is so much higher than the bureau’s recorded arrests…”
As The Intercept article notes, the FBI’s definition of “disruption” is vague:
“A disruption is defined as interrupting or inhibiting a threat actor from engaging in criminal or national security related activity. A disruption is the result of direct actions and may include but is not limited to the arrest; seizure of assets; or impairing the operational capabilities of key threat actors.”
Regardless of the exact scope of official disruption programs (and non-sanctioned practices by private investigators and LEIUs), many points in The Intercept’s article are clearly relevant. For example, the following quotes are included from an ACLU report:
“The FBI’s overbroad and aggressive use of its investigative and surveillance powers, and its willingness to employ ‘disruption strategies’ against subjects not charged with crimes can have serious, adverse impacts on innocent Americans,”
“Being placed under investigation creates an intense psychological, and often financial, burden on the people under the microscope and their families, even when they are never charged with a crime,”
Zersetzung (German for “decomposition” or “corrosion”) was the term used by communist East Germany’s infamous secret police agency, the Stasi, to refer to the long-term effects of “disruption” operations. A disruption strategy seeks to terrorize and socially isolate the victim, and to degrade his or her financial and emotional status – as well as inflicting the various physical effects of perpetual stress. Sometimes the word appears in the English language press; for example, in October 2004, The Sunday Times, a major newspaper in the U.K., reported that the intelligence agency MI5 uses disruption tactics to punish whistle-blowers who expose crimes perpetrated by the government.
“Gang stalking” is a slang term for disruption operations. Although it appears frequently online, the term “gang stalking” – unlike the term “disruption” – virtually never appears in official documents, except in occasional quotes by non-officials. Very likely, the term was coined by U.S. intelligence agencies for the purposes of online disinformation. Disruption operations are not perpetrated by criminal gangs, so the term is possibly intended to obfuscate the nature of the spying and harassment. Another term which is widely-used to refer to the same counterintelligence tactics, but which is slightly less deceptive, is “organized stalking.” As with the term “gang stalking” though – and the related term “targeted individual,” the term “organized stalking” primarily appears in websites, videos, and online comments whose purpose is to spread disinformation by discrediting legitimate reports of disruption operations.
In any case, the term “gang stalking” has gained traction. Even apparently-legitimate accounts of this form of spying and harassment often include the term. Whatever its origin and its defects, the term “gang stalking” has something of a foothold in online discussions, even though the subject remains mostly unknown to the general public. As far as I know, the term “gang stalking” has not yet found its way into any major published dictionaries.
Whistle-blowers are rare among the people who staff the giant pig trough that is America’s shadowy, bloated, post-9/11 security infrastructure. Also, the “code of silence” which prevails among corrupt law enforcement agents has deep roots. In addition, private investigators and other security contractors are subject to even less oversight than official enforcers. Consequently, the precise nature of the various programs and operations which make use of “disruption” crimes, is likely to remain obscure in the near future. Sometimes though, objective – if indirect – evidence hints at the expanding scope of abuses of power by the bureaucrats and thugs in America’s security industry. The following statistical trend could be an example of that, but it is impossible to make confident inferences from it.
Apparently, “gang stalking” began appearing among online searches circa 2005. The graph below was generated via the Google Trends webpage in May 2016.
The Prevalence of Stalking by Multiple Perpetrators
U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) crime statistics from a 2006 survey indicated that an estimated 445,220 stalking victims reported being stalked by 3 or more perpetrators. (Page 12 of the report has the relevant numbers: 13.1 percent of 3,398,630 victims reported such group stalking.)
Incidentally, that percentage is comparable to what appears in crime surveys in the U.K. – a nation with whom U.S. intelligence agencies have very close ties. A 1998 crime survey of England and Wales found that 12 percent of stalking victims reported being stalked by 3 perpetrators (page 25).
Possibly more relevant to organized stalking is the number of victims stalked by “four or more” perpetrators. In the British survey, that group was approximately 8 percent of all stalking victims (page 25). That would be approximately 1 percent (0.944 percent) of all adults aged 16 to 59.
A Curiously Incurious Justice Department
An attorney, Keith Labella, contacted the National Center for Victims of Crime (which is funded by the DOJ) in October 2008 to inquire about the frequency of reports the center receives about organized stalking crimes. He was informed that they receive “thousands of calls per month.”
Notwithstanding the frequency of calls to their helpline, the center offered no guidance or referral to other agencies or organizations. Here is Mr. Labella’s affidavit about his inquiry.
Make of it what you will, but the U.S. Department of Justice never publicly discusses the issue of counterintelligence stalking – not even to dismiss it as nonsense.
COINTELPRO Version 2.0
In a society as heavily-policed as America now is – a society whose National Security Agency is tracking everyone’s phone calls and Internet activity for example – it is inconceivable that tens of thousands or more cases of criminal stalking (as documented in the DOJ crime statistics) fail to appear on the radar of law enforcement and intelligence agencies.
Yet there is no mention of such crimes by the federal government anywhere except in those statistics.
The implication is inescapable: federal agencies are acquiescing in what is happening. Assuming the statistics are even roughly accurate, there is no other explanation; organized stalking (the monitoring and “disruption” of the activities of targeted individuals) is being perpetrated as part of a counterintelligence program.
And it is being done illegally – as it violates state laws (in every state) against stalking as well as the U.S. Constitution’s prohibitions against unreasonable searches and punishment without a trial. Stalking is also a violation of federal law (U.S. Code Title 18, Section 2261A).
Under the Radar
How is it that the general public would not be aware of the re-emergence of COINTELPRO operations?
I address this question in more detail in the section titled “The Wall of Silence Which Surrounds Gang Stalking,” but here are the main factors:
(1) Covert Methods
The most fundamental explanation for the low-profile of gang stalking is that counterintelligence operations – by definition – are performed covertly. The FBI’s original version of Cointelpro remained undetected by the public until stolen secret documents were leaked to the press.
(2) Security Clearances
Law enforcement and intelligence agency personnel involved in counterintelligence activities are bound by secrecy oaths. This is also true of the vast industry of private contractors employed by those agencies. For example, job ads posted by security-intelligence contractors for “surveillance role players” (domestic spies) all require an active security clearance in addition to counterintelligence training.
Similarly, judges who sit on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court which reviews legal issues about secret federal policies are also bound by secrecy oaths. That is also true of members of the House and Senate intelligence committees.
(3) Whistleblower Protection Act Exemptions
Agencies such as the FBI are exempt from the Whistleblower Protection Act. Consequently, an agent who tries to reveal unethical behavior by the agency faces potentially serious legal consequences. Contractors of intelligence agencies are also not protected by the Whistleblower Protection Act.
(4) Legal Restrictions on Witnesses
Almost certainly, when an individual is targeted for subversion (“gang stalking”), the operation is portrayed to witnesses (neighbors, co-workers, etc.) as an “investigation.” In an investigation, law enforcement personnel can order witnesses to keep silent. For example, when the FBI issues an administrative subpoena called a “National Security Letter” the document has a gag order attached which prohibits the recipient from discussing it.
(5) Tactics Which Create Minimal Evidence
Subversion tactics used by the FBI include many tactics from the original version of Cointelpro, and some which were futher refined by East Germany’s Stasi. For the most part, the tactics are all chosen because they are known to be effective forms of “no-touch torture.” The idea is to destroy the victim psychologically and socially and financially by forms of criminal harassment which create minimal objective evidence from the perspective of witnesses and courts.
Victims’ accounts tend to be dismissed since their experiences sound like commonplace occurrences – because that is indeed what they are: strangers who are rude, neighbors who are noisy, businesses which deliver bad service, drivers who cut-off the victim in traffic, pedestrians who bump them as they walk by, etc. These are things which happen to everyone. But for gang stalking victims, these things happen constantly – which becomes a form of real psychological torture, the intensity of which must be experienced to comprehend.
Americans are largely unaware of the history of well-documented relevant programs, such as the FBI’s Cointelpro operations and the CIA’s MK Ultra program – even though both were thoroughly investigated and exposed by Congress in the 1970s. Similarly, although many people have heard of the Stasi (East Germany’s secret police agency), they are not specifically familiar with the Stasi’s use of Zersetzung – which was a set of methods virtually identical to current gang stalking in America.
This is not surprising; nearly three-quarters of Americans do not know what the Cold War was about, and 29 percent cannot even name the vice president. Counterintelligence operations can thrive in an environment of such widespread ignorance.
Of course, even well-educated individuals are unlikely to recognize the connections between a local situation in which they are told that a neighbor or co-worker or business patron is under investigation and historical phenomena like Cointelpro and East Germany’s Stasi.
Still, it can only make things easier for an agency such as the FBI to recruit vigilante citizen volunteers and to conduct illegal operations without detection when they are dealing with a society in which 64 percent of the public cannot name the three branches of their federal government and a fourth of the people do not even know that the earth revolves around the sun.
(7) Cowardice, Laziness, & Incompetence in the Mainstream News Media
Organized stalking goes mostly undiscussed in the mainstream news media. There are some notable exceptions – most frequently in the local and alternative press. I review those in detail throughout this website, but as a rule, major corporate news agencies avoid discussing matters which the intelligence and law enforcement community do not wish to have discussed.
Laziness in the news media should not be underestimated either. Often when the federal government is engaged in serious deception and crimes, the news media play no role in the disclosure until a whistle-blower drops a set of incriminating official documents about it in their laps – as happened with the Pentagon Papers, Cointelpro, and the NSA’s mass surveillance exposed by Edward Snowden in 2013.
It would be difficult to overstate the significance of the news media’s cowardice as a factor in keeping modern Cointelpro operations off of the public’s radar. For perspective, one has to re-consider the reporting on crimes by U.S. intelligence agencies during the 1970s. A book by historian Kathryn S. Olmsted, Challenging the Secret Government (1996), makes the case that Americans overestimate the boldness of the journalism during that period.
The following review of Olmsted’s book gives a sense of what really happened. With a few notable exceptions – such as reporters Seymour Hersh and Daniel Schorr – the news media generally had a loss of nerve at a critical moment in America’s history. As a result, we missed a golden opportunity to fully expose the deep corruption in the U.S. intelligence community, and implement serious reforms.
Conventional wisdom would have it that, in the wake of Vietnam and Watergate, the nation’s press was emboldened to enter a new phase of investigative zeal. Olmsted, a lecturer in history at U.C.- Davis, provides an absorbing contrarian account of the extent to which, with a few singular exceptions, the press retreated from such zeal, in part intimidated by the discovery of their own potential power. Thus, four months after Nixon’s resignation, when New York Times reporter Seymour Hersh launched a series charging that the CIA, “forbidden by law from operating in the U.S.,” had engaged in massive domestic spying, his reports were greeted with skepticism and tentativeness in follow-ups by fellow journalists. (Hersh’s vindication came from CIA Director William Colby’s Senate testimony, in which he disputed only the characterization of wrongdoing as “massive.”)
Olmsted charts how Hersh’s story, along with a cautious but competitive exploration of FBI abuses by the Washington Post, resulted in two congressional investigations that also had the potential to break the code of deference previously accorded to organizations responsible for national security by both Congress and the press. Particularly compelling is the author’s account of how colleagues excoriated reporter Daniel Schorr when he went to the Village Voice with the confidential results of one of the investigations, after having been silenced by his own employers, CBS. This is a fascinating study of how, just months after Watergate, both press and Congress quietly retreated to the same silk-gloved handling of the CIA and FBI in the name of national security.
Search results on the Internet’s largest search engine, Google, fluctuate wildly for particular words and phrases over time. Only people within Google know the exact policies and algorithms which determine those results, but the search results do provide a rough indication of the online presence of certain topics.
Typically, the list of websites generated by a search is the tip of an iceberg. Ten pages of website links will show the top 100 results, but the screen also displays a much larger number that indicates the number of references to the search term that were detected.
A Google query of the term “gang stalking” in October 2013 yielded over six million results.
As you begin to wade through the search results, you will mostly encounter websites filled with incoherent rubbish. Anyone even superficially familiar with counterintelligence will recognize this tactic; it is called disinformation.
This is another reason organized stalking has been able to remain mostly below the public’s radar. Disinformation is used to muddy the waters surrounding the topic wherever it is discussed online. The intent is to mitigate exposure of the operations.
Because of its central importance to counterintelligence generally – and organized stalking in particular – I explore the subject of disinformation at length in its own section of this overview and elsewhere in this website.
(9) Failure to Connect the Dots
If you view all of the mainstream press reports about domestic spying, counterintelligence activities, and gang stalking from the past decade, it is clear that something is going on. On the other hand, very few people see most of those reports – let alone all of them together and combined with the context provided by the analysis you are now reading.
If you browse through the “Published News Reports on Gang Stalking” section of this overview, you will see that the evidence grows every year that a government-sanctioned program of informants and domestic spying and organized stalking is an element of the current homeland security infrastructure. Unfortunately, very few civilians ever see that evidence all grouped together, and therefore they are very unlikely to realize what is happening.
Lowering Requirements for Investigations
In 2008 the U.S. Department of Justice guidelines which govern FBI investigations were changed to create a new category of investigation called “assessments.” These investigations can be initiated with no evidence that any criminal activity has occurred, and the investigations can involve such intrusive measures as physical surveillance, recruitment of criminal informants, interviewing associates of the person being investigated and deploying undercover FBI agents.
The FBI’s internal rules were further relaxed in 2011 so that – without even opening an assessment – agents can begin searching commercial databases for information about the individual being investigated, and search through the subject’s trash.
Expansion of the powers wielded by the “surveillance state” – and the corresponding erosion of citizens’ civil liberties – has been occurring in the U.K. as well. Citizens of the U.S. should be mindful of that fact because a close relationship exists between the intelligence communities of both nations. Among the secret documents revealed by NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden, for example, were presentation slides about how the NSA assisted its British equivalent, GCHQ, in developing technology that was used to spy on citizens via their webcams.
In the same way that the U.S. government slashed some of Americans’ traditional rights by legislation such as the Patriot Act, in the U.K. the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) expanded the surveillance powers of the government in the name of national security. As far as I know, the members of Parliament did not hold much public discussion about how the U.K.’s intelligence agencies might want spy on a couple of million innocent citizens via their webcams.
Exploiting a Government Program as a Private Weapon
The potential for abuse of power by members of private intelligence corporations and government agencies in all of this is enormous.
Here is an example of such abuse which was reported in the news media – partly because it was directed at members of the news media. One of the counterintelligence tactics which the federal government hires intelligence contractors to perform is spreading disinformation. Most Americans would probably be surprised to learn that systematically spreading lies is even a government contractor job which their taxes are funding, but they underestimate – despite President Eisenhower’s famous warning – the extent to which the U.S. government’s defense budget has become a pig trough for shady contractors.
If you criticize a comedian, you will likely become the target of a joke. Similarly, when a reporter and editor at USA Today investigated and reported on the U.S. propaganda industry in 2012, they were anonymously slandered by those same contractors.
This was the opening paragraph of their first report that apparently did not go over well with the businesses they were exposing:
“ As the Pentagon has sought to sell wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to often-hostile populations there, it has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on poorly tracked marketing and propaganda campaigns that military leaders like to call “information operations,” the modern equivalent of psychological warfare.”
As a result of their reporting, this is what happened:
“Fake Twitter and Facebook accounts have been created in their names, along with a Wikipedia entry and dozens of message board postings and blog comments. Websites were registered in their names….”
“…Internet domain registries show the website TomVandenBrook.com was created Jan. 7 — just days after Pentagon reporter Tom Vanden Brook first contacted Pentagon contractors involved in the program. Two weeks after his editor Ray Locker’s byline appeared on a story, someone created a similar site, RayLocker.com, through the same company.”
The article notes that a proxy service was used to hide the identity of the owner of the websites, and a third website was registered to a non-existent address.
Slander is just one of the tactics used in organized stalking by counterintelligence operations. Any or all of the tactics – which are described in detail in a section of this overview – could be used as a weapon by people in the business.
In theory, an organized stalking operation against an individual could be initiated by anyone familiar with the tactics who has associates willing to participate. Perpetrators with financial resources could easily employ private investigators, for example, and others with relevant technical skills to wage a sophisticated operation against someone for revenge or intimidation.
Someone with connections to current or former law enforcement or intelligence agency personnel – or military personnel with a background in intelligence – could mount a very serious campaign against a victim without even (officially) involving government agencies in the initial stages of the investigation and harassment.
In a tactic called “baiting” a surveillance operation can selectively capture evidence of a targeted person responding to harassment. That evidence could then be used to justify the initiation of more formal scrutiny by a government agency.
At whatever point at which it becomes useful or necessary, the perpetrators can – officially or unofficially – turn over to the government counterintelligence personnel whatever they have gathered to have the individual targeted more formally. For example, they could contact a “Terrorism Liaison Officer” (TLO) – a government or civilian operative entrusted with hunting for “suspicious activity.” More on TLOs in section 10 below (“The Organizational Structure of Gang Stalking”).
In essence, organized stalking tactics (and a national counterintelligence program which uses such tacics) could easily be exploited – and probably are – as a weapon against individuals who are disliked for any reason by someone who is either a member of the community of intelligence/security firms, law enforcement agencies, and intelligence agencies. Similarly, being a member of the FBI-corporate alliance called InfraGard (discussed in detail below) could create a perfect opportunity to have someone blacklisted.
Being associated with the national counterintelligence program of organized stalking (“Cointelpro 2.0”) is like having a cousin who is in the Mafia.
Allegations of Stalking by Private Organizations
Deception is a major element of counterintelligence programs. Consequently, all discussion of COINTELPRO-type stalking has to be viewed skeptically. Allegations that the ongoing criminal harassment of targeted individuals is simply an activity by one or more vigilante groups is a case in point.
It is inconceivable – especially with the modern surveillance state – that the Justice Department and the other federal intelligence agencies are unaware of exactly what is happening. Their silence about the issue means that they acquiesce in it, whatever the specific operational structure might be.
That said, it is also clear that there is a “snitch culture” element to organized stalking – not just a bureaucratic machine. Perpetrators of gang stalking crimes rely upon a degree of informal support from sadists and useful idiots. Also, there is a long history of non-governmental organizations perpetrating very serious crimes against their fellow citizens. In addition, such organizations – for example, the Ku Klux Klan – have historically included members of the political and law enforcement community. So the involvement of private groups in organized stalking cannot be categorically dismissed, even though the core of the activity has to be state-sanctioned.
Gang stalking tactics are sometimes alleged to be used by certain fraternal orders, such as Freemasons (a “mafia of the mediocre” – Christopher Hitchens, chapter 2 of his memoir), and by various religious groups such as Scientologists and Jehovah’s Witnesses – for example, to control or punish current or former members. See for example, this March 15, 2013 article in the Brisbane Times.
I have no first-hand knowledge of the use of organized stalking by religious groups, but it does seem plausible – especially if you agree with America’s second president, John Adams:
“There is a germ of religion in human nature so strong that whenever an order of men can persuade the people by flattery or terror that they have salvation at their disposal, there can be no end to fraud, violence, or usurpation.”
In the case of Scientologists, there is reportedly a policy called “Fair Game,” under which the church allegedly uses aggressive tactics toward individuals and groups it perceives as its enemies. The practices – as described in this 1990 Los Angeles Times article, apparently include some tactics associated with organized stalking: “psychological warfare,” “dirty tricks,” and “harassment.” Reportedly, the Fair Game policy also sometimes involves employing detectives, former police officers, and criminals:
“Teams of private detectives have been dispatched to the far corners of the world to spy on critics and rummage through their personal lives–and trash cans–for information to discredit them.
During one investigation, headed by a former Los Angeles police sergeant, the church paid tens of thousands of dollars to reputed organized crime figures and con men for information linking a leading church opponent to a crime that it turned out he did not commit.”
Instances of “cause stalking” and stalking by religious cults presumably account for only a very small portion of the numerous incidents in the aforementioned crime survey statistics. It is true however, that members of religious cults (and cult-like fraternal organizations) are – by definition – easily manipulated, so they could serve in some cases as “useful idiot” vigilantes for others whose motivations they don’t even comprehend.
That is perhaps true for most of the general public since most people are completely unaware of the existence of any domestic counterintelligence operations – past or present – and would be unlikely to suspect that what they are being told might be disinformation and manipulation as part of a modern American version of the Stasi.
One group which is sometimes mentioned as a source of organized stalking perpetrators – probably as disinformation in most cases – is
the ancient fraternal order of Freemasons. Mentioning the organization often brings to mind tin-foil hat conspiracy theories. It should be noted, however, that mainstream news reports also include allegations about the group. Specifically, there are claims that the Freemasons’ network
is exploited to abuse the power of its members.
This June 2013 article in The Independent revealed that a leaked secret report from British law enforcement authorities found that many law firms, wealthy individuals, and large corporations hire private investigators to conduct illegal spying for them. The article mentioned one of the ways sensitive information was obtained:
[The report] found private investigators to be experts at “developing
and cultivating useful relationships” through “socialising with law enforcement personnel.” One particular method identified was to become a member of the Freemasons, which has been repeatedly
linked to corruption in the police and judiciary.
A December 2018 article by Zach Dorfman at Politico recounted an example – from 1979 – of “a private spy ring” operating in America. In the case described, local and federal law enforcement officials were feeding information to a private, right-wing political organization. Dorfman provided 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 legally 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.
Unfortunately, Dorfman’s article does not address the essential question – namely, what is the current scope of such domestic spying – legal and illegal – by corrupt local and federal law enforcement personnel, the 17 US intelligence agencies, and the numerous private security-intelligence firms?
Rise of the Police State
More than 5.1 million Americans had security clearances in 2013 according to a report by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). 3.6 million of the clearances were confidential or secret, and 1.5 million clearances were top secret. Almost one-third of those top secret clearances belong to contractors rather than government employees.
Although the budget for U.S. intelligence activities is mostly kept secret, it is clear that the monitoring of American citizens is taken seriously by their government. This is especially clear after revelations in 2013 about the scope of domestic surveillance by the National Security Agency (NSA).
Equally clear is that the U.S. justice system aggressively polices and prosecutes its citizens: the U.S. has one of the very highest per capita incarceration rates in the world.
A common – and accurate – critique of the modern U.S. government is that it has become unbalanced by the massive expansion of power and secrecy in the executive branch.
A related problem is that the now-vast network of federal agencies (whose officials of course are non-elected) operate with minimal accountability. In many cases they effectively create their own laws.
This is true to some extent in all agencies since they issue and enforce regulations, but the potential to be corrupted by power is infinitely greater in law enforcement and intelligence agencies such as the FBI, the CIA, and the NSA – which operate mostly in secrecy.
The Threat to American Democracy Posed by the Spying Industry
“In the councils of government, we must guard against
the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought
or unsought, by the military industrial complex.”
– President Dwight D. Eisenhower
Even Eisenhower was corrupted by the kind of power he warned against. As President, he authorized CIA-backed coups in Iran and Guatemala. In Iran, a democratically-elected prime minister was overthrown by the CIA (and its British counterpart MI6), and replaced by a monarchy. The CIA also trained the repressive police force used to maintain the dictatorship. Similarly, in Guatemala, the CIA overthrew a democratically-elected president and installed a military dictatorship. In both cases, the motives were corporate greed and the desire for U.S. government hegemony.
In addition to the extreme violations of the Constitutional and state rights of the particular individuals targeted for organized stalking, the current counterintelligence program poses a threat to democracy itself, since it can be used against anyone who dares to question the legitimacy of the government’s authority.
The FBI’s original COINTELPRO operations were illegal and disturbing abuses of power; the modern version is similarly corrupt, and it is supported by the now-vast network of powerful secretive agencies and contractors armed with much more powerful technology.
Spying on Americans: a lucrative business for security contractors
The huge (and largely secret) federal budget for intelligence activities and homeland security supports a large industry of private contractors who provide technology and services for surveillance, investigations, security, and various intelligence functions. About 70 percent of America’s budget for intelligence activities goes to private contractors, according to a 2012 report from the Director of National Intelligence.
The collusion between corporations and the federal government in the area of domestic surveillance is inherently dangerous. This July 2013 article in the Atlantic posed the issue this way:
“Government and corporations are both capable of terrible things. To have them colluding with one another in secret, inexorably arranging things so that there’s disincentive for disagreement among them, is terrifying. The people can fight Big Government. The people can fight Big Finance. The people can fight Big Tech. Could the people fight them if they’re all working together with secret law on their side?
Booz Allen Hamilton is paid handsomely to spy on us for the government, then pours campaign contributions back into that same government, protecting their powerful financial incentive
to have the surveillance state expand, something that is already
a bipartisan cause.”
Political support for a Stasi Big Brother police state in the U.S. is partly rooted in hawkish views about law enforcement and anti-terrorism strategy, but it is mostly rooted in greed. There will always be a long line of contractors seeking to cash-in. They all want to be IG Farben (sort of the gold standard of war pigs).
When Congress voted in July 2013 on whether to rein-in the NSA’s domestic surveillance program which tracks Americans’ phone calls and emails, House members who voted to continue the surveillance received twice as much campaign finance money from the military and intelligence industry as those who voted to dismantle the program.
Americans are not normally permitted to know how much of their money the federal government spends on spying. NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden changed that.
Among the secret documents he revealed was the 178-page “black budget” for the 2013 fiscal year. That year’s slush-fund contained $52.6 billion. You can buy a lot of traitorous Stasi rodents with that kind of money.
Also be aware that a lot more money is sloshing around in the federal pig trough which might be getting funneled into spying activities. Many U.S. intelligence operations are conducted under the authority of the Pentagon – for example, those of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). Pentagon spending is notoriously difficult to keep track of. Even the U.S. Government Accounting Office says that U.S. Department of Defense spending is “unauditable.”
Defenders of Constitutional liberties are up against a powerful and well-financed industry of parasites. This May 2013 article in The New Yorker describes a “bureaucratic empire” of entities built around the homeland security industry:
“When the Washington Post surveyed that empire, in 2010, it counted more than three thousand government organizations
and associated private companies working on counterterrorism, homeland security, and intelligence, in ten thousand locations across the United States.”
Frontline produced a fascinating documentary in April 2013 about the secretive agencies and corporations which make up the modern military and law enforcement industrial complex. The program is called “Top Secret America – 9/11 to the Boston Bombings.”
The whole thing is interesting, but if nothing else, watch the set-up (minutes 3 to 6) and the five minutes or so in the middle (minutes 27 to 32) about journalists uncovering the massive shadowy industry of private intelligence firms.
The Washington Post articles upon which the documentary was based were the product of one of the most thorough investigations of the American police state. More than a dozen journalists spent two years investigating the vast network of agencies and corporations performing secret homeland security operations. This was their conclusion:
“The top-secret world the government created in response to
the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work.”
Tom Engelhardt, who teaches at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, described the expansion of the national security complex this way:
“It has essentially merged with a set of crony outfits that now
do a significant part of its work. It has hired private contractors by the tens of thousands, creating corporate spies, corporate analysts, corporate mercenaries, corporate builders, and corporate providers for a structure that is increasingly be coming the profit-center of a state within a state.”
How deep is the trough?
A January 2019 article by Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone examined the accounting rules used to obfuscate federal spending on intelligence activities. Here is Taibbi’s description of the guidelines that had been recently adopted:
…an announcement by a little-known government body called the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board — FASAB…essentially legalized secret national security spending. The new guidance, “SFFAS 56 – CLASSIFIED ACTIVITIES” permits government agencies to “modify” public financial statements and move expenditures from one line item to another. It also expressly allows federal agencies to refrain from telling taxpayers if and when public financial statements have been altered.
…I spent weeks trying to find a more harmless explanation for SFFAS 56, or at least one that did not amount to a rule that allows federal officials to fake public financial reports.
I couldn’t find one.
…The FASAB ruling adds a new and confusing wrinkle to what little we know about levels of spending in the intelligence community. Officially, the fiscal year 2019 appropriation is $81.1 billion, which breaks down to $59.9 billion for the National Intelligence Program, along with $21.2 billion for the Military Intelligence Program.
…the real answer for how big a share of national spending belongs to the intelligence community is probably “God only knows.” [emphasis added]
Barrett Brown on the Role of Private Security-Intelligence Contractors
As I am updating this (in March 2014), journalist Barrett Brown is in jail facing charges related to his role in exposing information leaked by hackers who obtained internal emails from private intelligence firms, such as Stratfor and HB Gary.
Activities revealed in those leaked emails included things such as plotting to discredit journalist Glenn Greenwald and critics of the Chamber of Commerce by spreading lies about them.
In other words, at least some of these numerous secret firms engage in the kind of actions which the CIA might perform against foreign enemies – but they do so on behalf of corporate interests.
Here is an excellent article by Barrett Brown on this topic published in the Guardian in July 2013.
Job Ads for Gang Stalkers?
On August 21, 2013 Drudge Report linked to a brief article posted the day before on InfoWars about a job announcement posted in San Diego. The job – advertised on Craigslist – was for a part-time position with an intelligence/security contractor firm as a “Surveillance Role Player.”
As I explain in detail in the “Organizational Structure” section of this overview, these job listings are numerous. They are mainly found on the websites of defense contractors. You can locate them easily by performing an online search for “surveillance role player job.”
Clearly these jobs are for some type of domestic spying (there are no foreign language requirements, for example). All of the job listings specify that applicants must have active secret clearances and counterintelligence training.
I have so far been unable to locate any mainstream news reports that might shed light on this issue, but multiple indications suggest that these could be jobs for gang stalkers. I re-visit this critical issue in section 11 of this overview (“The Organizational Structure of Gang Stalking”).
Here is an example of one such job listing:
Click on image to enlarge.
Law Enforcement & Intelligence Agencies’ Support of
a Corporate Agenda
Collusion between corporations and the federal law enforcement/intelligence community is not limited to companies in the spying industry. This subject was explored in depth in a May 2013 report from the Center for Media and Democracy, called Dissent or Terror: How the Nation’s Counter-Terrorism Apparatus, in Partnership with Corporate America, Turned on Occupy Wall Street.
That report describes two organizations which facilitate that partnership:
“There are two primary domestic public-private intelligence sharing partnerships at work at the federal level: InfraGard and the Domestic Security Alliance Council (DSAC).
InfraGard is a public-private intelligence sharing partnership managed by the FBI Cyber Division Public/Private Alliance Unit (PPAU). As described by the FBI, Infragard is an “association of businesses, academic institutions, state and local law enforcement agencies and other participants dedicated to sharing information and intelligence to prevent hostile acts against the United States.” There are 86 Infragard chapters nationwide. These Infragard chapters serve as representatives of private sector “stakeholders” in many of the nation’s fusion centers.
DSAC is a public-private intelligence sharing partnership between the FBI, U.S. DHS I&A and several of the nation’s leading corporate/financial interests. Some of these corporate/financial interests comprise the DSAC Leadership Board. The DSAC Leadership Board consists of 29 corporations and banks, including several entities that have been the subject of OWS protests/criticism. Corporate/financial interests active in the DSAC Leadership Board include: Bank of America, MasterCard, Citigroup, American Express, Barclays, RBS Citizens, 3M, Archer Daniels Midland, ConocoPhillips, Time Warner and Wal-Mart. Along with DSAC chairmen from the FBI and U.S. DHS I&A, DSAC is co-chaired by a representative of these private sector interests– currently Grant Ashley, vice president of global security for pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co.”
Artist’s rendering of an InfraGard member
The March 2008 issue of The Progressive featured an article about this creepy corporate spy club. It seems that InfraGard’s communications with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security can be kept hidden from the public, as they are covered by the “trade secrets” exemption of the Freedom of Information Act.
Apparently mindful that the public will be naturally suspicious of the organization’s legitimacy, InfraGard’s website explains that members must carefully manage the image presented to the public:
“The interests of InfraGard must be protected whenever presented to non-InfraGard members,” the website states. “During interviews with members of the press, controlling the image of InfraGard being presented can be difficult. Proper preparation for the interview will minimize the risk of embarrassment. . . . The InfraGard leadership and the local FBI representative should review the submitted questions, agree on the predilection of the answers, and identify the appropriate interviewee. . . . Tailor answers to the expected audience. . . . Questions concerning sensitive information should be avoided.”
For those wishing to join this elite secretive alliance between the FBI and the corporate sector – to learn their secret handshake and to gain the power of being able to name an employee as a suspicious person to be targeted by federal goons, you “must be sponsored by an existing InfraGard member, chapter, or partner organization.”
Those who are deemed worthy of membership in the InfraGard partnership are given ID cards and enjoy privileged access to information and direct communication with the FBI.
In a 2009 TV program, Jesse Ventura, the former governor of Minnesota, interviewed Matthew Rothschild, senior editor of the Progressive about InfraGard. Ventura also confronted a member of InfraGard regarding the partnership’s obvious potential for abuse of power. The relevant section begins 25 minutes into this video clip.
Note: if the video becomes unavailable at the above link, and you want to search for it, this is the information: Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura, Episode #4, “Big Brother” – originally broadcast on December 23, 2009.
The existence of programs like InfraGard, along with the FBI’s infiltration of groups like Occupy Wall Street, and the plotting by intelligence firms to wage a disinformation-slander campaign against critics of the Chamber of Commerce (also discussed in this overview), all suggest that activist and hacker Jeremy Hammond is correct in his assessment of the current U.S. law enforcement industry personnel – namely, that they are “the boot boys of the 1 percent, paid to protect the rich and powerful.”
A Gang Stalking Organization Chart
Victims of organized stalking can only speculate about the exact nature of the shadowy network of perpetrators arrayed against them.
That speculation is made more difficult by the fact that the people who are overtly and covertly watching them and perpetrating various acts of harassment are of different classes of perpetrators with different motivations and have different connections (and often no connection) to the victim.
For example, the street-level perpetrator (“perp” as cops say) is typically someone who appears to be a rough-looking homeless or near-homeless ex-con type.
Their interactions with the target require no technical skills; the perp is just following some simple instruction – for example, to bump into the victim, or to make some specific creepy comment, or to harass the victim at his or her residence by making various noises.
Such participants in the stalking of course would not be told anything about who they are ultimately working for; in some cases perhaps they are simply paid a small sum of cash by a person who approached them on the street to perform a single act of harassment. In other cases, they might be ex-con’s who have been recruited/coerced/paid to function – technically – as “criminal informants.”
At a slightly higher level in the stalker food-chain (among those who interact with the victims) are people who appear more clean-cut and are often carrying a cell phone – presumably to communicate with their handlers.
Some of the intermediate-level participants are apparently recruited because of their relevant technical skills or because their jobs afford them access to facilities and information relevant to the operation – such as phone technicians, security guards, and landlords.
At the level above them are the people who actually orchestrate the operation. Based on my own observations, analysis, speculation, and various material I’ve read (which is included or linked in this website), these people are presumably employed by various intelligence contractors who are ultimately overseen by federal law enforcement and/or intelligence agency personnel.
The active support – or at least approval – of federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies would be necessary for such activities to occur without attracting interference from the massive homeland security infrastructure now in place.
The agencies, corporations, & individuals involved in organized stalking
Historically, counterintelligence crimes against Americans in the U.S. have been perpetrated by three main entities: (1) “red squads” (Law Enforcement Intelligence Units of local police departments), (2) Private Intelligence-security firms such as Pinkerton (now Securitas), and (3) the FBI.
Today, you can probably add the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to the list. The most authoritative journalism on the subject – such as that of George O’Toole in the late 1970s – also shows connections between LEIUs and the CIA. Technically of course, the CIA is not supposed to be preying on Americans, but anyone who has read about MK Ultra knows that is a purely theoretical boundary.
Similarly, anyone who has not been living in a cave since June 2013 knows that the NSA is deeply involved in unconstitutional domestic spying. And all those agencies – plus others – have access to the nationwide system of data “Fusion Centers,” so there is no way that everyone from local cops (especially those in LEIUs) to the U.S. Attorney General is not in the know about organized stalking.
Other players in the overall process include Terrorism Liaison Officers (TLOs) who help choose some of the targets, corporate partners such as members of InfraGard and DSAC, and Threat Assessment Teams in various civilian organizations.
Lastly, the perps include a type of person famously used by East Germany’s Stasi – the civilian snitch. Stasi agents referred to such a person as an Inoffizielle Mitarbeiter – unofficial collaborator. Although the street-level thugs used in gang stalking harassment are sometimes apparently recruited from the ranks of criminal informants, many are just un-paid civilian minions who will do almost anything to please someone in a position of authority – for example, under the guise of assisting a “neighborhood watch” program or an “investigation.”
Who sanctions all of this? In the case of the FBI’s Cointelpro crimes under J. Edgar Hoover, some of the operations were approved by the Department of Justice (DOJ). Presumably, the DOJ signs-off on everything today also (or at least knowingly acquiesces in it). The same might be true of the U.S. judiciary’s “Star Chamber” – the secret FISA Court.
Precedence for Organized Stalking of Dissidents
The conspiratorial criminality involved in organized stalking might seem far-fetched if not for the fact that the U.S. government has been caught doing such things before. Context provided by an awareness of documented crimes – past and present – by government agencies is critical for evaluating the plausibility of claims about ongoing counterintelligence operations in the U.S.
3. Crimes by U.S. law enforcement and
. intelligence agencies
“When the president does it, that means it is not illegal.”
– Richard Nixon in a 1977 interview with David Frost
Attitudes of Government Officials About the Law
Although scandals such as Watergate and Iran-Contra occasionally break into the public’s consciousness, most Americans are unaware of the criminality which routinely occurs at the upper levels of government.
The same government officials who oversee America’s domestic surveillance and law enforcement programs often have a very casual attitude about their own obligation to obey the law.
In a Senate hearing in March 2013 the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, was asked “Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?” Clapper said they did not.
NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden’s subsequent revelations proved that Clapper was lying to Congress – which Clapper himself was forced to acknowledge. A typical American citizen would be prosecuted for perjury if he or she lied to Congress; Clapper obviously has no such concerns.
As a practical matter, intelligence agencies and federal law enforcement agencies exist in a mostly secret and politically-protected realm outside of the laws that bind the rest of us. They know they won’t be punished for their crimes.
The political establishment is similarly unconcerned. Since the intelligence and law enforcement community enjoys virtually unconditional support from both major parties, neither party has to worry about negative political consequences for its role in creating domestic surveillance programs which violate the Fourth Amendment.
In April 2013 WikiLeaks published a searchable database of more than 1.7 million U.S. diplomatic and intelligence documents from the mid-1970s which had been declassified. The documents included a revealing transcript of a discussion involving then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
When a Turkish official suggested that the U.S. arrange to supply military hardware to Turkey – in violation of a U.S. Congressional arms embargo – Kissinger joked about the illegality:
Before the Freedom of Information Act, I used to say at meetings, “The illegal we do immediately; the unconstitutional takes a little longer.” [laughter] But since the Freedom of Information Act, I’m afraid to say things like that.
We’ll make a major effort.
For the average American, violating federal laws would be a serious matter; for government officials like Kissinger it is literally a joke.
In an August 2013 National Review article, conservative columnist John Fund quoted an intelligence official who alluded to the pervasiveness of such arrogance and deception:
A veteran intelligence official with decades of experience at various agencies identified to me what he sees as the real problem with the current NSA: “It’s increasingly become a culture of arrogance. They tell Congress what they want to tell them. Mike Rogers and Dianne Feinstein at the Intelligence Committees don’t know what they don’t know about the programs.” He himself was asked to skew the data an intelligence agency submitted to Congress, in an effort to get a bigger piece of the intelligence budget. He refused and was promptly replaced in his job, presumably by someone who would do as told.
Such behavior at the federal level sets the tone for law enforcement agencies lower down the food chain. I address this issue also in the section of this overview about the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).
The Erosion of Trust in the U.S. Government
“Turns out I’m really good at killing people.”
Comment by President Obama – from Double Down
– a behind-the-scenes account of the 2012 presidential
race by journalists Mark Halperin and John Heilmann
An April 2014 Rasmussen poll found that more than twice as many American voters regard the federal government as a threat to their rights than those who view the federal government as a protector of their rights.
The poll found that 54 percent of voters considered the federal government to be a threat to individual liberties. Only 22 percent viewed the government as a source of protection of individual liberties. The remaining 24 percent were undecided.
Two of the major reasons trust in U.S. government officials has eroded are: (1) the massive expansion of power and secrecy of the federal government – especially the executive branch – has predictably led to abuses of authority, and (2) access to information via the Internet has made it harder to keep such abuses secret.
That’s the good news for targets of organized stalking. The bad news is that – as a practical matter – many people still naïvely assume that anyone who seems to be associated with law enforcement should be absolutely trusted – as seen in this ABC TV show segment.
Organized stalkers (and other criminals) can easily exploit that fact to recruit accomplices by persuading them that they are assisting an investigation or a neighborhood watch surveillance program. This common tendency of blind obedience toward authority figures is such an important element of organized stalking that I address it in detail in its own section of this overview.
Evidence of this sheep-like deference to law enforcement authority figures was on display in January 2014 a jury in the southern California city of Fullerton decided that it was OK with them that their local police department beat to death an unarmed mentally-ill homeless man who posed no risk to anyone. They were not persuaded by the mere fact that the murder had been captured on surveillance camera video.
The Prevalence of Government Corruption in the U.S.
A 2013 Gallup poll found that 79 percent of U.S. residents believed that corruption was widespread throughout the government in America.
Admittedly, this is a measurement of the perception of corruption, rather than corruption itself, but corruption is inherently difficult to measure, and public perception is an important indicator.
Now imagine the depth of corruption in those corners of America’s government which operate mostly in secret with minimal oversight, such as the intelligence and law enforcement industry.
The Frequency of Crimes Perpetrated by U.S. Government Agencies
You don’t have to visit an obscure blog these days to find complaints that America is becoming something of a police state. But America’s government doesn’t just engage in secret invasive surveillance and aggressive policing – it also engages in crimes.
That’s not my opinion – that’s what the federal government itself says. For example, the CIA constantly commits crimes according to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, IC 21 (April 9, 1996) – as explained in chapter 6 of Into the Buzzsaw.
The Congressional report cited therein by John Kelly (whose book Tainting Evidence: Inside the Scandals at the FBI Crime Lab was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize) states that “several hundred times every day” officers of the Clandestine Service (CS) of the CIA “engage in highly illegal activities.”
Part of the blame for the American public’s ignorance of crimes by federal agencies lies with the mainstream media, which routinely avoids or downplays news that would upset the political establishment. On the other hand, even when good reporting does occur, it often fails to penetrate the public’s consciousness.
On the November 21, 1993 episode of the CBS news show 60 Minutes, a former head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) stated that the CIA had colluded with the Venezuelan National Guard to smuggle a ton of pure cocaine into the U.S. That revelation – and other reports of CIA involvement in the illicit drug trade – seems to have minimal impact on the assumption that Americans should trust the nation’s intelligence community.
By the way, if you want to see that moment of the 60 Minutes episode, it is included in this documentary by WhoWhatWhy on counterintelligence. That segment begins at minute 29.
In an August 2013 article, Reuters revealed that – as a matter of official policy – a secretive unit within the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) instructs law enforcement officers in various agencies to lie about the origins of their investigations.
Some cops don’t need to be told to lie. The subject of crimes by police officers is generally under-reported in the mainstream corporate news media – especially on national TV news, but to evaluate the plausibility of widespread acquiescence in gang stalking by local police officers it is helpful to consider criminality by police generally.
This review of crimes by Chicago police officers published by the University of Illinois at Chicago, Department of Political Science is illuminating. Browse through the list of convictions of police officers on pages 24 to 47 of this report. The list is in alphabetical order by the officers’ names, and covers the past half-century. Keep in mind: these were just the crimes that were discovered and prosecuted.
The crimes range from bribery and extortion to torture and murder. Gang stalking would be like jay-walking for the cops on this list.
Crimes Perpetrated Under Authority of the FBI
Law enforcement agencies in America make extensive use of criminal informants in their investigations, and in many cases authorize criminals to commit crimes when an agency believes it furthers its goals, as reported for example in this August 2013 article in USA Today.
“The FBI gave its informants permission to break the law at
least 5,658 times in a single year, according to newly-disclosed documents that show just how often the nation’s top law enforcement agency enlists criminals to help it battle crime.”
The FBI report from 2011 which USA Today obtained via the Freedom of Information Act does not reveal the nature of the crimes:
“The report does not spell out what types of crimes its agents authorized, or how serious they were. It also did not include any information about crimes the bureau’s sources were known to have committed without the government’s permission.”
A document released in December 2013 showed that informant crimes authorized by the FBI increased another 5 percent in 2012 to 5,939 crimes.
Sometimes the FBI uses cops to perpetrate crimes too. During the original COINTELPRO era, for example, they arranged for police to assassinate two young members of the Black Power movement. On December 4, 1969 in Chicago 14 police officers raided an apartment and killed two members of the Black Panther Party – Fred Hampton and Mark Clark – while they were sleeping.
Noam Chomsky in an interview on Democracy Now! in February 2011 noted that the assassination barely showed up on the radar of the American public:
“…one of the events was a straight Gestapo-style assassination
of two black organizers, Fred Hampton and Mark Clark, literally.
I mean, the FBI set up the assassination. The Chicago police actually carried it out, broke into the apartment at 4:00 in the morning and murdered them. Fake information that came from the FBI about arms stores and so on. There was almost nothing about it. In fact, the information about this, remarkably, was released at about the same time as Watergate. I mean, as compared with this, Watergate was a tea party. There was nothing, you know?”
Illegal Spying by the FBI
Of course, the most well-known and well-documented crimes by the FBI occurred during the COINTELPRO era, and I devote an entire section to that later in this overview. I will just point out here that despite the extreme secrecy in which the agency operates, evidence continues to emerge of ongoing criminality. No doubt these reports represent the tip of an iceberg.
A report released in January 2011 by the non-profit watchdog group Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) revealed documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which suggested widespread civil rights violations in FBI investigations.
“[The documents show] serious misconduct by FBI agents including lying in declarations to courts, using improper evidence to obtain grand jury subpoenas, and accessing password-protected files without a warrant.”
Most Americans are unaware that the FBI is exempt from the Whistleblower Protection Act. If anything, the agency deserves extra scrutiny because of its history of domestic spying done for political reasons.
An October 2013 article in Reason described the FBI as a “dangerous” domestic spy agency. The author, J.D. Tucille, explains not only how the FBI is able to mostly keep its agents from revealing the agency’s crimes, but also why the abuses tend not to be investigated very aggressively by the press:
“Never hesitant about flexing its muscles to target dissenters and whistleblowers, the FBI….is more dangerous than ever.”
“Exempted from the Whistleblower Protection Act, the FBI freely retaliates against employees who attempt to call out wrongdoing. As a result, it’s rare for FBI employees to speak out. That culture lends itself to a willingness to target whistleblowers in other agencies—and journalists.”
Tucille quoted from the September 2013 report by the ACLU – Unleashed and Unaccountable: the FBI’s Unchecked Abuse of Authority. That report noted examples of the FBI spying on journalists, such as this:
“In 2010 the Inspector General reported the FBI used an illegal ‘exigent letter’ to obtain the telephone records of 7 New York Times and Washington Post reporters.”
A more high-profile case of spying on journalists was reported in May 2013, when it was revealed that the Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors of the Associated Press.
Famous Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein said on May 14, 2013 on MSNBC that he believed that the intention of the AP records seizure was “to intimidate people who talk to reporters.”
Mike German was a decorated FBI agent who specialized in counter-terrorism. He left the agency after 16 years, when he became a whistle-blower. He had discovered that fellow officers were violating wiretapping regulations. When he reported that to his supervisors, his accusations were ignored, and his career was effectively frozen. Apparently, his experience was not unique in an agency which values secrecy more than ethics.
After leaving the FBI, German served as a senior policy counsel at the ACLU. He is now with the Brennan Center for Justice.
Mike German is one of the guests on this Democracy Now! interview together with an individual who was targeted by the FBI for being a political dissident. The individual was subjected to intense investigation for years – despite having no criminal record, apart from trespassing incidents related to political protests.
At 2:06 in the video of this interview journalist Amy Goodman asks Mike German to explain the FBI’s legal authority to perform the “assessments” which, as I mentioned in the introduction above, are essentially investigations that can now be launched against an individual without any evidence that the individual has committed a crime.
This April 2014 interview with Mike German is also worth watching. He suggests that much of the FBI’s threat assessment role should be taken over by Congress, since the agency has a natural tendency to exaggerate the threat of terrorism. German also states that the FBI is now more powerful than at any time since the Cointelpro era.
A high-level FBI official who retired after a full career with the bureau, the late Ted Gunderson, claimed that the FBI’s infamous COINTELPRO operations, which lasted from 1956 to 1971, re-emerged in a more sophisticated form a decade or so later, as what is now commonly referred to as “gang stalking.” Gunderson’s testimony is complicated however, for several reasons, as I explain here in my full discussion of COINTELPRO.
War Crimes by Sociopaths in U.S. Intelligence Agencies
Journalist Douglas Valentine has written extensively about the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), including a book called The Phoenix Program which details the CIA’s Operation Phoenix in the Vietnam war. That program, which is largely unknown to the American public even today, involved torture, assassinations, and the murder of civilians – including women and children – on a large scale.
For anyone who is curious about Operation Phoenix, I recommend this article which Valentine wrote for CounterPunch magazine in May of 2001 in which he explains both the nature of the war crimes committed and how those crimes were whitewashed by the establishment press.
Writing for that same magazine in September 2013, Douglas Valentine made the following observation about the CIA. No doubt this also applies to many agents in other U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies as well.
“Despite the popular portrayal of the CIA as patriotic guys and girls risking everything to do a dirty job, the typical CIA officer is a sociopath without the guts to go it alone in the underworld. They gravitate to the CIA because they are protected there by the all-powerful Cult of Death that rules America.”
How Far Will U.S. Officials Go in their Criminality?
An instructive example of the extremes to which federal agencies sometimes go is the CIA’s secret MKUltra program. I describe MKUltra in some detail in section 6 below, so I will just note here that it involved performing experiments (including psychological and physical torture) on American citizens. No one was punished for his participation in that program – which lasted two decades, and the head of the CIA destroyed most of the records about it when it was discovered.
In September 1970 the leftists in Chile won a plurality of that country’s democratic election, as a result of which, their representative would have soon been confirmed as the next president. Right-wing political leaders in Chile, some major U.S. corporations which did business in the country (including Pepsi Cola and Chase Manhattan Bank), and the CIA were not pleased with this development and communicated that to then-president Richard Nixon and his Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, and they plotted to arrange for a military coup instead.
An obstacle they faced was that the chief of the Chilean General Staff, General René Schnieder did not believe in interfering with the democratic process. So Nixon and Kissinger had him murdered.
The incident – and other very serious transgressions – did not prevent Kissinger from generally being treated with great respect and adulation by the American news media over the rest of his career. That kind of sycophancy and complacency by mainstream journalists obviously makes it difficult to expose and punish the bad behavior done in secret by the U.S. government.
High-level U.S. officials are sometimes willing to perpetrate very serious crimes against their own citizens when they believe it could further their agendas. A perfect example of this was the proposed “false flag operation” called “Operation Northwoods.”
The following description of the plan is an excerpt from an ABC News article in May 2001 by David Ruppe:
In the early 1960s, America’s top military leaders reportedly drafted plans to kill innocent people and commit acts of terrorism in U.S. cities to create public support for a war against Cuba.
Code named Operation Northwoods, the plans reportedly included the possible assassination of Cuban émigrés, sinking boats of Cuban refugees on the high seas, hijacking planes, blowing up a U.S. ship, and even orchestrating violent terrorism in U.S. cities.
The plans were developed as ways to trick the American public and the international community into supporting a war to oust Cuba’s then new leader, communist Fidel Castro.
America’s top military brass even contemplated causing U.S. military casualties, writing: “We could blow up a U.S. ship in Guantanamo Bay and blame Cuba,” and, “casualty lists in U.S. newspapers would cause a helpful wave of national indignation.”
Details of the plans are described in Body of Secrets (Doubleday), a new book by investigative reporter James Bamford about the history of America’s largest spy agency, the National Security Agency. However, the plans were not connected to the agency, he notes.
The plans had the written approval of all of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and were presented to President Kennedy’s defense secretary, Robert McNamara, in March 1962. But they apparently were rejected by the civilian leadership and have gone undisclosed for nearly 40 years.
Lying About Killing
A thorough review of disturbing crimes and conspiracies by the U.S. government is beyond the scope of this website. My goal here is simply to cite a few examples to make the general case that acts and programs involving serious deception and criminality are not aberrations. Here is a final example from a few years ago.
When a U.S. cruise missile struck a village in Yemen in December 2009 killing 41 people – including 14 women and 21 children – the U.S. government and the Yemeni government conspired to lie about the incident, saying that the Yemeni government had launched the attack rather than the U.S., and that the victims were members of an al-Qaeda training camp.
The truth about who launched the attack and the identity of the victims was later revealed by two sources: cables released by Wikileaks and evidence gathered and reported by a young Yemini journalist named Abdulelah Haider Shaye.
After exposing what really happened in the missile strike, Shaye was arrested on apparently trumped-up charges and given a sham trial that was criticized by major human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and sentenced to five years in prison.
In 2011 the president of Yemen announced that he was going to pardon Shaye, but apparently decided against it “because of a phone call from Obama.”
According to Amnesty International, the unexploded cluster bomblet in the photo below was found at the location of the missile strike in Yemen. It would have been one of the 166 bomblets carried by the Tomahawk cruise missile.
Each bomblet explodes “into over 200 sharp steel fragments that can cause injuries up to 150m away. An incendiary material inside the bomblet also spreads fragments of burning zirconium designed to set fire to nearby flammable objects.”
To review: In an incident which barely registered on the radar of the news media and the American public, U.S. government officials killed a bunch of women and children. Then they lied about it to cover it up. Then, when they got caught, they arranged to have the journalist who exposed all the killing and lying kept in prison for reporting it.
If you think that a government which routinely does that kind of stuff (without any negative career consequences or political consequences or legal consequences for those involved) – and which was previously caught waging an illegal counterintelligence war against its own citizens (COINTELPRO) – could not possibly be acquiescing in an illegal program of organized surveillance and harassment of targeted citizens, then you’re not skeptical – you’re just naïve.
4. Oversight of law enforcement and
. intelligence agencies
Lawlessness in the U.S. intelligence community
A May 2015 column by journalist Tom Engelhardt examined some recurring patterns of deception, hubris, violence, and incompetence in the U.S. national security state. This passage – which is relevant to counterintelligence stalking – perfectly describes the security state’s quest: maximum power for itself and a minimum of oversight from the public whose interests it supposedly serves.
“…the American national security state, which has undergone an era of unprecedented expansion, is now remarkably unconstrained by any kind of serious oversight, the rule of law, or limits of almost any sort. It should be clear by now that the urge for ever more latitude and power has become part of its institutional DNA. It has already created a global surveillance system of a kind never before seen or imagined, not even by the totalitarian regimes of the last century. Its end goal is clearly to have access to everyone on the planet, Americans included, and every imaginable form of communication now in use. There was to be a sole exception to this blanket system of surveillance: the official denizens of the national security state itself. No one was to have the capacity to look at them. This helps explain why its top officials were so viscerally outraged by Edward Snowden and his revelations. When someone surveilled them as they did others, they felt violated and deeply offended.”
U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies currently operate with essentially the same lack of accountability that existed during the days of COINTELPRO and MKUltra. Following the Church Committee investigations in the 1970s efforts were made to implement policies to protect Americans from crimes by the federal government. Unfortunately, those protections have been thoroughly undone – especially by policies such as the Patriot Act enacted in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. The FBI – and even the IRS – now assert the right to have warrantless access to the email communication of all Americans, to cite just one example.
Arguably, even the Church Committee reforms aimed at outlawing assassinations of foreign leaders have been undermined. The government now orders drone assassinations in places like Yemen and launches wars without the approval of Congress – such as the “military intervention” against Libya launched in March 2011.
It’s difficult to even assess the extent to which America’s law enforcement and intelligence agencies have returned to being rogue entities, given that they now routinely invoke “national security” as a justification for keeping American citizens from knowing their business. Political cowardice by members of Congress – as well as laziness, group-think, and careerism among many journalists at major news outlets has resulted in a lack of oversight of America’s most secretive government agencies.
Fortunately, there are some exceptions; some journalists do report that the intelligence and law enforcement communities have slipped the leash. A Forbes magazine writer – to cite just one example – has suggested that we probably need another Church Committee investigation. The Forbes article quotes a former senior NSA official, William H. Binney, who said we seem to be headed “toward an Orwellian state.”
A November 2013 article in the New York Times on spying by the NSA quoted Binney on the danger of the intelligence community’s powers being used as a weapon against Americans:
Mr. Binney said that without new leadership, new laws and top-to-bottom reform, the agency will represent a threat of “turnkey totalitarianism” — the capability to turn its awesome power, now directed mainly against other countries, on the American public. “I think it’s already starting to happen,” he said. “That’s what we have to stop.”
Congress members’ fear of the intelligence community
Oversight of the U.S. intelligence agencies is the responsibility of the House and Senate intelligence committees. Those committees are unlikely to provide much real oversight though if they are afraid of the people they are supposed to be monitoring. Unfortunately, that is very likely the case.
In March 2014, two members of Congress made comments which strongly implied that such fears exist. Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) said this of his fellow senators:
“I think I perceive fear of an intelligence community drunk with power, unrepentant, and uninclined to relinquish power.”
The next day, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California) said this about disagreeing with the intelligence community:
“You don’t fight it without a price, because they come after you.”
On April 10, 2014, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) gave a speech about the Whistleblower Protection Act. According to Grassley, President Obama’s Insider Threat detection program fails to adequately distinguish true insider threats – such as spies and terrorists – from whistle-blowers.
As Senator Grassley explained in his speech, when he and Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) had a briefing with the FBI the week before, the head of the FBI’s Insider Threat Program did not bring the program’s training materials as the senators had requested so they could review them. About ten minutes into the briefing, after the senators began raising questions about whether the bureau was fairly distinguishing between threats and whistle-blowers, the FBI officials “abruptly walked out.”
Senator Grassley described the FBI’s attitude this way:
“The FBI fiercely resists any efforts at Congressional oversight, especially on whistle-blower matters.”
Victims of organized stalking by corrupt law enforcement and intelligence agencies sometimes try to gain the attention of members of Congress so they might intervene to stop such criminal behavior. I encourage such efforts, but I would caution targeted individuals to be realistic. Senator Leahy is the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the FBI officials simply walked out of his briefing when he and Senator Grassley tried to question them about how they target individuals as potential threats.
Senator Chuck Schumer (D-New York), speaking on MSNBC on January 3, 2017, said this about what happens if a US president fails to show proper deference to his bosses in the US spy agencies:
“Let me tell you: You take on the intelligence community — they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you.”
Lawlessness in the private spying industry
Concerns that the spy industry in the U.S. has slipped the leash have been voiced by many people who know the profession from first-hand experience. Former CIA division chief Melvin Goodman said this of the vast private contractor element of the intelligence community:
“My major concern is the lack of accountability, the lack of responsibility. The entire industry is essentially out of control. It’s outrageous.”
Concerns about the lack of oversight of U.S. intelligence community contractors have also been expressed by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). A report released by the GAO in February 2014 indicated that over a third of the personnel records for intelligence contractors lacked the documentation needed to validate the number of personnel employed or the reasons core intelligence functions were being assigned to them.
The lack of oversight for private spooks does not just apply to those working for government agencies as contractors; it also applies to a large shadowy industry of corporate spies who work for intelligence-security firms.
A November 2013 report on corporate spying by Gary Ruskin, director of the Center for Corporate Policy, used the word “lawlessness” to describe the nature of the industry. His report – “Spooky Business” – concluded that the private intelligence and law enforcement industry functions with virtually no oversight.
“[The industry] appears to enjoy near impunity, is a threat to democracy and the rule of law. In essence, corporations are now able to hire a private law enforcement capacity – which is barely constrained by legal and ethical norms….”
In his February 2011 article for the Guardian, “The Dirty History of Corporate Spying,” investigative reporter James Ridgeway described how corporations target people with what is, in effect, a secret private law enforcement system:
“The private detective firms working for corporations can develop information against their own targets and find eager recipients among federal and local law enforcement agencies, some of whose employees end up retiring into private-sector detective work. The corporate spy business thus amounts to a shadow para-law enforcement system that basically can get around any of the safeguards set out in the American legal system; it ought to be subject first to transparency, and then to banning.”
Oversight of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
DHS is America’s third-largest government agency, with a massive $39 billion budget and 225,000 employees in 2014. (Americans require a lot of monitoring by Big Brother to make the political class feel safe.)
With all those federal employees and private contractors feeding at that giant pig trough – in an area of government which operates largely in secrecy – oversight is critical. Here is the Washington Post’s description of the April 2014 report about the U.S. Senate’s investigations into the oversight being provided:
“Charles K. Edwards, who served as acting DHS inspector general from 2011 through 2013, routinely shared drinks and dinner with department leaders and gave them inside information about the timing and findings of investigations…”
Here is a comment from the report by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), the ranking Republican on the subcommittee on financial and contracting oversight, which conducted the investigation:
“We found that Mr. Edwards was a compromised inspector general…who was not exercising real oversight….Any report generated out of his office would be suspect.”
Oversight of the Justice Department
Because of its critical role at the top of the U.S. law enforcement system, I devote an entire section of this overview to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). For now, I will just mention this for perspective:
A January 1993 Washington Post article quoted a government auditor describing the secretive and dysfunctional nature of the DOJ’s internal affairs office this way:
“The system they have in place could not be better for sweeping things under the rug.”
Oversight of an inherently corrupt system
Regardless of the integrity of the oversight, if the true nature of the programs themselves is illegitimate, the public’s rights and interests will not be protected. Unfortunately, that is precisely the situation.
Declaring an endless “war on terror” – just like declaring an endless “war on drugs” – guarantees as a practical matter that civil rights will always be a low priority, and that other agendas – such as political control, corporate profits, and career interests associated with enforcement and surveillance will drive government policy.
“Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia.”
– from 1984 by George Orwell
In December 2013, NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden posted an open letter to the people of Brazil regarding U.S. spying. In that letter he explained that the ostensible purpose of America’s massive surveillance system – protecting Americans from terrorism – is essentially a lie:
5. Published news reports
In the absence of leaked official documents, analysis of domestic counterintelligence operations often requires speculation based on information from public sources, such as the news reports listed below. Journalist Dan Froomkin mentioned this strategy of uncovering abuses of power in a blog entry at The Intercept in September 2014:
“Reading copiously is one approach. Even in a
flawed press climate, a pretty compelling picture
emerges when you connect the dots.”
For perspective, keep this in mind about the following news items: When a criminal is caught perpetrating a crime, often the transgression is just one of a large number of crimes, most of which went undetected. That also applies to crimes perpetrated by law enforcement and intelligence agencies. What follows are, presumably, just glimpses of activities which mostly stay off of the public’s radar.
A Penthouse article published in December 1976 called attention to a secretive quasi-governmental organization called the Association of Law Enforcement Intelligence Units (LEIU). The reporter was Pulitzer Prize nominee George O’Toole, a novelist and historian who specialized in the history of American espionage and who had worked for the CIA. The article, “America’s Secret Police Network,” revealed the modern system of what are traditionally referred to as “Red Squads” – intelligence units within urban police departments that conduct spying and counterintelligence activities, such as infiltrating and disrupting groups deemed to be subversive. Despite having received government funding and despite the group’s management of a sensitive intelligence database, LEIU is a private organization, and therefore mostly free of any oversight. O’Toole described the group this way:
“The organization forms a vast network of intelligence units that exchange dossiers and conduct investigations on a reciprocal basis. Several of the police departments belonging to the group have recently been caught in illegal wiretapping, burglary, and spying on the private lives of ordinary citizens. The LEIU is, in effect, a huge, private domestic-intelligence agency.”
A New York Times article reviewed a three-and-a-half-year study of the aforementioned LEIU association by the American Friends Service Committee. The study described the LEIU as “an old-boy network” whose illegal surveillance “of groups and individuals for political purposes is continuing on a vast scale in the nation.” According to the report, the widespread illegal spying posed “a grave threat to the constitutional rights of freedom of expression, due process and privacy.”
A Los Angeles Times article under the headline “FBI Admits Spreading Lies About Jean Seberg” was the lead story on the paper’s front page. Seberg – a successful film actress and a political activist – had died the month before in Paris from an apparent suicide. As the Los Angeles Times reported, Seberg had been the target of a systematic campaign by the FBI to slander her. She had also apparently been blacklisted and terrorized by the FBI using tactics associated with counterintelligence operations intended to neutralize political dissidents, such as “black bag jobs,” illegal wiretapping, and overt stalking.
An article in the Gadsen Times – and other news reports – brought national attention to the case of Arnold Lockshin, an American cancer research scientist who fled with his family to the Soviet Union in 1986 and was granted political asylum. According to Lockshin, he and his family were being intensely harassed by federal agents because of their socialist political views. The alleged harassment tactics included many of those associated with other cases of organized stalking: slander, spying, break-ins, threats, harassing phone calls, etc. A book – Silent Terror – by Arnold Lockshin about the organized stalking campaign against his family was published in 1988.
An article in Newsweek/Daily Beast was among the first mainstream U.S. news reports about a trend of intense systematic harassment in the workplace. The process, known as “mobbing,” involves multiple perpetrators engaging in the coordinated psychological abuse of an individual employee. Although the article does not link the reports of such organized harassment to a larger phenomenon, that form of abuse is a common element of victim accounts in organized stalking cases.
An episode of the PBS News show NOW addressed the possible re-emergence of the FBI’s Cointelpro operations. NOW is an Emmy-winning weekly TV newsmagazine on PBS. Tom Brokaw described NOW as “fearless about challenging conventional wisdom.” The Austin American-Statesman called NOW “one of the last bastions of serious journalism on TV.”
While the video of the program is not posted on the PBS website, there is a synopsis of the show under the title “COINTELPRO Again?”
Here is the relevant passage:
“Some fear that something like COINTELPRO may again be at hand. There are undercover agents infiltrating peaceful protests in America. Pretending to be political activists, local law enforcement officials are monitoring the activities of advocacy and protest groups based on what one judge calls those organizations’ “political philosophies and conduct protected under the First Amendment.” The tactic has come about as a result of the relaxation of guidelines first put into place after the COINTELPRO scandal investigation.”
An article in Newsweek noted that the Pentagon was quietly re-entering the business of domestic spying. One of the scandals (along with Watergate, COINTELPRO, and other crimes) which led to the U.S. Senate’s Church Committee investigations during the 1970s was the spying on Americans by U.S. Army intelligence agents. In the years following the 9/11 attacks, as this article noted, the military sneaked
back into that role:
“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.”
An article in The Sunday Times, a major newspaper in the U.K., reported that the intelligence agency MI5 uses gang stalking tactics to punish whistle-blowers. In the article the tactics are referred to as
“Zersetzung” – as the process was called by the Stasi (the state police of communist East Germany).
Note: Most of this article is behind a subscription pay wall at the link posted here; however, you can see the full text of the article in my October 10, 2004 post on the “Cointelpro News (2013)” page of this website.
A semi-autobiographical book by Gloria Naylor – winner of the National Book Award for her novel The Women of Brewster Place – was published in 2005. In the book, Naylor described her experiences as a target of organized stalking. The book’s title, 1996, was the year Naylor realized that she was being stalked. (Presumably, it is also a reference to Orwell’s 1984.) Apparently, her harassment began after she had a dispute with a neighbor whose brother worked for the National Security Agency (NSA).
Some of Naylor’s comments in an interview on National Public Radio, January 23, 2006:
“I think I just ran into the wrong people at the wrong time, and like the book shows, what starts from a very innocent dispute with a neighbor cascades and cascades and cascades into a whole production.”
“…these cars began to surveil me. People began to follow me around, and it did, it was very disrupting to think that your privacy was being violated, and for no reason that I could come up with.”
On the possible skepticism some people might have of her account:
“…what I can say to them is this: it’s the same thing that happens when a child is abused by a trusted adult. Now, that child will go to some parents and tell them these things. They will be believed by some of the parents. Some of the parents will never believe that Uncle George could be doing these things to their little girl.”
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 gang stalking techniques (referred to as “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.
“Both CSIS and the RCMP are now under scrutiny in judicial inquiries and civil courts, with a series of men jailed overseas accusing the agencies of making end runs around the justice system.”
A CSIS official told a Canadian Senate committee: “if prosecution is not viable, there are other techniques.”
A New York Times article reported that the federal government agreed to pay a $2 million settlement to an Oregon man who was wrongly accused of terrorism. As the Christian Science Monitor reported in November 2010, the harassment of the man by federal law enforcement agents included performing black bag operations on his residence, exactly like those described by victims of organized stalking:
“Federal authorities planted listening devices in his office, throughout his house – including in his bedroom – and tapped his phones. He and his family were kept under surveillance. Agents conducted “sneak and peak” searches, entering the home when the family was away.”
A cover article in The Washington Post Magazine by a journalist familiar with military policies and weapon systems portrayed self-proclaimed victims of “gang stalking” as intelligent and credible, and suggested that claims about exotic non-lethal weapons being used by the U.S. government to harass targeted individuals were plausible.
“If Harlan Girard is crazy, he doesn’t act the part….Girard appears intelligent and coherent.”
“…given the history of America’s clandestine research, it’s reasonable to assume that if the defense establishment could develop mind-control or long-distance ray weapons, it almost certainly would. And, once developed, the possibility that they might be tested on innocent civilians could not be categorically dismissed.”
The Washington Post reporter, Sharon Weinberger, described her efforts to obtain information about the defense department technology known to be associated with some of the experiences described by self-proclaimed victims of organized stalking:
“Rich Garcia, a spokesman for the research laboratory’s directed energy directorate, declined to discuss that patent or current or related research in the field, citing the lab’s policy not to comment on its microwave work.”
“…Research appeared to continue at least through 2002. Where this work has gone since is unclear — the research laboratory, citing classification, refused to discuss it or release other materials.”
Regarding the numerous comments generated by her article, for example, Weinberger again noted the apparently rational nature of many of the self-proclaimed victims of gang stalking:
“….for anyone who thinks that all TIs are mentally ill people in need of forced medication, I suggest you check out some of the extremely sane tactics they employ. For example, their organized response to the article would make some political campaigns jealous. As one mind control blog advises:
We must write the Washington Post in high numbers to show that this story merits a follow up. We must get our side of the story out, before the perps start inundating them with letters that we are crazy. Please take part in this to give the accurate side of what is really happening and remember to forward any supporting evidence.”
An article in the Nation quoted former CIA division chief Melvin Goodman on his views of the vast private contractor element of the intelligence-security community:
“My major concern is the lack of accountability, the lack of responsibility. The entire industry is essentially out of control.
A newspaper article in the Verona-Cedar Grove Times titled “Stalker Claims Unsettle Police” described how a self-proclaimed target of gang stalking “has been handing out fliers claiming a large, organized group of stalkers is targeting residents and business owners with the objective of destroying their lives.”
The flyers stated: “Their intention is to murder their target without getting their hands dirty. It’s the perfect hate crime.”
A post on the political blog Daily Kos alleged that intelligence agencies in the U.S., the U.K., and Canada use “Zersetzung” – as East Germany’s Stasi referred to gang stalking – against targeted individuals. Although the article did not provide sourced details, it might have helped raised awareness of this form of state-sponsored criminal harassment since Daily Kos receives several hundred thousand visits per day.
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 organized stalking (which the Canadian intelligence community sometimes calls “diffuse and disrupt” tactics).
A local TV news broadcast in California (on KION – Channel 46 and KCBA – Channel 35) featured a report about “gang stalking” – referred to as such by the reporters and by Lieutenant Larry Richard of the Santa Cruz Police Department.
An article for the Guardian titled “The Dirty History of Corporate Spying,” by investigative reporter James Ridgeway, described how corporations target people with what is, in effect, a secret private law enforcement system:
“The private detective firms working for corporations can develop information against their own targets and find eager recipients among federal and local law enforcement agencies, some of whose employees end up retiring into private-sector detective work. The corporate spy business thus amounts to a shadow para-law enforcement system that basically can get around any of the safeguards set out in the American legal system; it ought to be subject first to transparency, and then to banning.”
A newspaper article in The Record and a TV report on KCRA Channel 3 described an organized stalking case in which the city manager of Stockton, California was stalked by local police after a break-down in contract negotiations. The brazen tactics used by the police included purchasing the house next to the city manager’s home and using it as a base for psychological operations. Stockton’s mayor was quoted in the Record as saying that the city manager had been “targeted for harassment at home.” KCRA 3 News reported that the police department would not return its calls about the matter.
An article in the Sun Sentinel, a Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper in Florida, reported the organized stalking of Donna Jane Watts, a Florida Highway Patrol trooper, by other police officers and sheriff’s deputies from multiple jurisdictions. The victim of the stalking had cited an off-duty police officer for reckless driving (he was later fired). The stalking – which included illegally snooping on the victim’s private data and efforts to harass and intimidate her – was apparently done in retaliation. Ms. Watts filed a lawsuit seeking compensation for the illegal harassment. Incidentally, the Sun Sentinel later won a Pulitzer Prize for public service journalism for its series of articles on deaths and injuries caused by reckless driving by Florida police officers.
“Trooper Donna ‘Jane’ Watts’ 69-page lawsuit, filed in federal court Friday, seeks more than $1 million in damages. She is suing more than 100 police officers and agencies, and the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. The suit alleges 88 law enforcement officers from 25 jurisdictions illegally accessed her personal information more than 200 times, violating her privacy.”
“…officers looked up information such as her home address, picture, Social Security number, date of birth, and detailed vehicle description in a database available to police officers, according to her lawsuit.”
“Watts said after the incident she received random calls on her home and cell phones, some threatening.”
A few days later, a very similar complaint was filed by another apparent victim of group stalking by law enforcement officers in Florida. Toni Foudy, a former sheriff’s deputy alleged that she and her husband were the targets of illegal surveillance and harassment. The two cases were reported on a local TV news broadcast in Palm Beach (WPTV), and were also reported by Treasure Coast Newspapers.
Here are some excerpts from the newspaper article:
A former deputy who worked for the Indian River and St. Lucie County sheriff’s offices says her former colleagues looked into driver’s license information for herself and her husband hundreds of times over a six-year period, according to a $1 million federal lawsuit filed Monday.
…The Foudy lawsuit names about 100 members of the two sheriff’s offices as accessing the driver’s license information for the former deputy and her husband.
…Foudy joined the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office in 2005 but left after a year on the force during an internal affairs investigation into her patrol car becoming disabled, the lawsuit states. Foudy resigned because she believed she was being targeted by people at the agency, according to the lawsuit.
Foudy and her husband said they began receiving harassing emails in 2006. Years later, the emails were traced to a computer terminal at the St. Lucie County Jail, the lawsuit states. Several times a week, the couple said, patrol cars would drive by their home and blare their sirens. This prompted them to move twice, according to the lawsuit.
Here is a copy of the claim that was filed: Foudy’s Complaint
As the complaint notes (page 36), Foudy’s relatives also became targets of the illegal surveillance. Unauthorized queries about them in two databases were allegedly made nearly 200 times over a six-year period.
An article in CounterPunch asserted that the FBI’s infamous COINTELPRO operations had re-emerged in full force: “COINTELPRO is alive and well.”
An article in the Nation titled “The Strange Case of Barrett Brown,” by Northwestern University professor Peter Ludlow, stated – in reference to actions by private security firms, the FBI, and the Department of Justice: “One might think that what we are looking at is COINTELPRO 2.0 – an outsourced surveillance state – but in fact it’s worse.”
An article in the Washington Times and an article in Wired both discussed the speculation that a mass shooting at the Washington D.C. Navy Yard resulted from the shooter being “gang stalked” in
an MK Ultra-type operation using electronic weapons and noise harassment.
The cover article of Fortean Times in September 2013 (U.K. edition) was about “state-sponsored gangstalking.” The author – Robert Guffey, a faculty member of the English department at California State University Long Beach – gave a detailed account of a gang stalking case which involved the U.S. military.
A marine had gone AWOL after stealing some sensitive military property – including night vision goggles and a laptop containing classified information. Apparently the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) initiated an organized stalking campaign against the suspect and his associates as well as an investigation. Various psychological operations tactics were used, such as overt stalking, in addition to some far more exotic methods. Possibly the operations were intended to serve as both a form of extra-judicial punishment and as experimentation.
A local TV news broadcast in West Virginia (on WDTV – local CBS News affiliate Channel 5) featured a report about “organized stalking.” The broadcast featured testimony by two individuals from Pennsylvania who appeared to be credible and sincere, discussing their constant harassment by perpetrators using gang stalking tactics.
A TV and radio broadcast of Democracy Now! featured an interview with Gary Ruskin, director of the Center for Corporate Policy, in which he discussed the shadowy industry of spies employed by major U.S. corporations to conduct secret – and often illegal – counterintelligence operations against critics of those corporations.
Journalist Amy Goodman:
“According to the report, these corporations employ former CIA, National Security Agency and FBI agents to engage in private surveillance work, which is often illegal in nature but rarely — if ever — prosecuted.”
Articles published by CBS, the Daily Mail, RT, Tech Dirt, and Courthouse News Service reported that a U.S. government contractor, Jeffrey Kantor, filed a lawsuit against multiple federal agencies for orchestrating what the complaint describes as “group stalking attacks (aka gang-stalking) against him.” Kantor claimed that his stalking began after he made a Google search for information about how to build a radio-controlled airplane. While typing his query, Google’s auto-complete function finished his “How to build a radio-controlled…” query with the word “bomb.” The individual was then subjected to constant surveillance – including inside his residence and his vehicle – and constant psychological harassment from co-workers and strangers. In addition to his claim against the U.S. government, Mr. Kantor sued the federal contractors for which he worked, because of the orchestrated harassment (“mobbing”) he was forced to endure at his workplace.
The Winnipeg Free Press reported that in July of 2013 a 56-year-old man named Gerald Chudy stabbed a man in Manitoba, Canada, in retaliation for what Chudy said was years of “gang stalking.” The reporter did not elaborate in the article on the term “gang stalking,” and he did not reply to my email to him about the issue. The article does not mention the name of the man Chudy accused of being a stalker. Apparently, the man’s injuries were not serious.
An article in The New Yorker gave a detailed account of a stalking campaign by a large corporation. Research biologist Tyrone Hayes discovered some disturbing effects from a pesticide made by the agribusiness corporation Syngenta. When he refused to keep quiet about it, the corporation’s goon squad began slandering him to discredit him. They also stalked him, hacked his emails, and threatened him for more than a decade. This was not a case of “gang stalking,” (government-run counterintelligence subversion), but it is an example of the increasingly common thuggish tactics of a rogue industry of corporate spooks in America that mostly operates with impunity.
A report on the ABC News TV program 20/20 – and an article in the Daily Mail – chronicled the ordeal of a couple in Hubbard, Ohio who were systematically harassed for 7 years in a vengeance campaign orchestrated by the town’s fire chief. Apparently, the fire chief was angry at the couple because of a real estate dispute, so he enlisted the help of other firefighters, police officers, and local residents to perpetrate a campaign of constant vehicle horn honking outside the couple’s home. The harassment – which the couple thoroughly documented on video – resulted in legal claims which were still pending at the time of the news reports.
A local TV news report on WTNH News 8 in Connecticut and a local TV news report on an NBC News affiliate, and an article in the Connecticut newspaper, The Courant, reported that hundreds of “suspicious flyers” about “gang stalking” were being distributed in Guilford, CT. The flyers made reference to this website (Fight Gang Stalking), and alleged that organized counterintelligence stalking was being perpetrated in Guilford. A statement by the Guilford Police Department about the matter was also posted in The Day newspaper. A copy of one of the flyers was posted on this page of The Courant’s website.
NBC News reported – along with numerous other media outlets – that 31-year-old lawyer, Myron May, shot three people at Florida State University, after informing a number of people – in writing – prior to the incident, that “government ‘stalkers’ were harassing him.” Two of the persons he shot sustained minor injuries; the third was left paralyzed from the waist down. Prior to the shooting, the self-proclaimed “targeted individual,” Myron May, left a voice message for an acquaintance in which he said “I do not want to die in vain.” He also made other phone calls – and sent emails and text messages – about what was being done to him. In addition, May sent ten packages of information to various people to “expose” what was happening. The FBI intercepted the ten packages in the mail.
An article published by the Daily Mail described a legal case filed the month before in the U.K. by a businessman who claimed that over the previous 11 years he was intensely spied upon and harassed – as punishment and intimidation – by the British intelligence agency MI5 for refusing to assist that agency with its operations targeting his friend, whom the Daily Mail described as “a notorious gangster.”
“[The plaintiff] has reportedly claimed MI5 spies have planted secret microphones in his house and have trained birds to tap on his windows in an attempt to frighten him. Businessman Philip Kerr is seeking to win a High Court injunction against the intelligence agents, who he says have targeted him because he refused to co-operate with the security service. The 53-year-old says he has been subjected to a ‘campaign of harassment’ over the past 11 years, claiming agents have filled his houses in Wirral, Merseyside, and Thailand with hidden cameras and microphones.
…he also says in legal papers that spies have interfered with his phone, TV and radio…
The article noted that Kerr had, in addition to retaining legal counsel, sought advice from former MI5 intelligence officer and whistle-blower Annie Machon, a high-profile whistle-blower. (She appears, for example, as the first speaker in this video, which also features famous whistle-blowers from U.S. intelligence agencies, such as Ray McGovern and Thomas Drake.)
‘Annie confirmed to me that the things I am being subjected to are exactly the kinds of things MI5 do to get into your head. It is psychological warfare,’ he said.
…Kerr’s barrister Anthony Barraclough, said…‘This has taken his life away and had a major effect on his health.’
…MI5 said it would neither confirm nor deny the allegations in the High Court Claim.”
The same case was reported with updated information in April 2015 in the Daily Mirror – another British national daily tabloid newspaper. Some excerpts:
“A judge this month refused to strike out the claim at the request of MI5, which said it would neither confirm nor deny the allegations.”
“Senior Master Barbara Fontaine instead stayed – or suspended – the proceedings and told Mr. Kerr to take his complaint to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT), a closed court which investigates complaints of unlawful covert techniques by public authorities.”
“[Kerr] says that this course of conduct, which includes stalking and surveillance, has been carried out overtly, rather than covertly, by MI5 in order to persuade or force him by intimidation to work with the Security Service.”
January to December 2015
For the summaries of the news reports published during 2015 (and the related links), see the January 9, 2016 post of the “COINTELPRO News (2016)” page of this website.
6. Historical origins of gang stalking: COINTELPRO, MKUltra, red squads, & the Stasi
American high school and college students would be well-served by a deeper study of government conspiracies such as the Teapot Dome scandal, Operation Mockingbird, Operation Northwoods, the Pentagon Papers, Watergate, and Iran-Contra. No one can participate intelligently in America’s republic without such an historical background.
The strategies and tactics used in organized stalking have their roots in earlier programs and agencies in America and elsewhere. Among the subjects of particular relevance to contemporary counterintelligence crimes in the U.S. are the following:
COINTELPRO was a secret program of FBI counterintelligence operations against American citizens orchestrated under the leadership of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover.
Project MKUltra was a secret program run by the CIA from the early 1950s until the early 1970s, in which mind control and interrogation experiments were performed on U.S. and Canadian citizens.
“Red Squads” – now called “Law Enforcement Intelligence Units” (LEIUs), are elements of local police departments. They spy on criminals, but they also conduct counterintelligence activities – including infiltrating and disrupting organizations deemed to be subversive, such as labor groups and civil rights groups. Red Squads have been used – especially by urban police departments – since the late 1800s. Historically, Red Squads have taken very seriously the protection of business interests and the disruption of political movements. They have been rather more casual in their attitudes about complying with the law and principles of morality.
The Stasi – communist East Germany’s secret police agency – enforced the political control over East Germany’s citizens through a combination of surveillance and psychological terrorism. Core elements of that system of spying and psychological torture, called zersetzung, are used in gang stalking in the U.S. today.
Anyone who doubts that the U.S. government could be sanctioning a widespread conspiracy involving illegal surveillance and harassment of targeted citizens should read the basic facts about these programs. You don’t even need to explore obscure sources of information; simply read the established mainstream accounts of the undisputed facts.
J. Edgar Hoover, FBI Director from 1924 to 1972
COINTELPRO was a secret illegal program in which U.S. law enforcement personnel and their various government and private citizen accomplices systematically spied on, slandered, terrorized, and committed acts of violence (including murder) against American citizens. The program ended after being exposed in 1971 by civilian activists who obtained information about it and leaked it to the news media.
It would be difficult to overstate the relevance of the COINTELPRO operations to modern gang stalking in the U.S. By all available evidence, current organized stalking crimes in the U.S. are not similar to COINTELPRO; they are a continuation of COINTELPRO.
Significantly, COINTELPRO was not exposed by insider whistle-blowers; the FBI agents and their civilian minions dutifully perpetrated their assigned crimes until the operations were derailed by civilian outsiders.
Exposure of the program required those civilians to break into an FBI office and steal documents about the program and give them to the news media.
Also bear in mind: J. Edgar Hoover’s name is still on the FBI headquarters building.
As noted in the introduction above, a January 21, 2013 article in CounterPunch magazine asserted that COINTELPRO is now secretly being used again on a wide scale. In that article, “The Return of COINTELPRO?” Tom McNamara describes the original program – and its re-emergence – as follows:
For 15 years (1956-1971) the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) ran a broad and highly coordinated domestic intelligence / counterintelligence program known as COINTELPRO (COunter INTELligence PROgrams). What was originally deemed as a justifiable effort to protect the US during the Cold War from Soviet and Communist threats and infiltration, soon devolved into a program for suppressing domestic dissent and spying on American citizens. Approximately 20,000 people were investigated by the FBI based only on their political views and beliefs. Most were never suspected of having committed any crime.
The reasoning behind the program, as detailed in a 1976 Senate report, was that the FBI had “the duty to do whatever is necessary to combat perceived threats to the existing social and political order.” The fact that the “perceived threats” were usually American citizens engaging in constitutionally protected behaviour was apparently overlooked. The stated goal of COINTELPRO was to “expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize” any individual or group deemed to be subversive or a threat to the established power structure.
The FBI’s techniques were often extreme, with the agency being complicit in the murder and assassination of political dissidents, or having people sent away to prison for life. Some of the more “moderate” actions that were used were blackmail, spreading false rumors, intimidation and harassment. It has been argued that the US is unique in that it is the only Western industrialized democracy to have engaged in such a wide spread and well organized domestic surveillance program. It finally came to an end in 1971 when it was threatened with public exposure.
Or did it?
In a stunning revelation from the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF), it appears that COINTELPRO is alive and well. Through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, PCJF was able to obtain documents showing how the FBI was treating the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement, from its inception, as a potential criminal and domestic terrorist threat.
In a stunning revelation from the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF), it appears that COINTELPRO is alive and well. Through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, PCJF was able to obtain documents showing how the FBI was treating the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement, from its inception, as a potential criminal and domestic terrorist threat.
Retired FBI official from the COINTELPRO era on “gang stalking”
Among the most interesting testimony about the current version of COINTELPRO (“gang stalking”) came from a man who was familiar with the original COINTELPRO operations – because he participated in them as an FBI official. The late Ted L. Gunderson served as the head of the FBI field offices in Los Angeles, Dallas, and Memphis. After retiring from the FBI in 1979, he became a private investigator. His investigations included working for the defense in the famous murder case involving former U.S. Army physician, Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald.
In a series of public appearances (and in an affidavit linked below) Gunderson stated that “rogue” military intelligence and law enforcement units of the federal government oversee a nationwide network of community-based gang stalkers who monitor, harass, and intimidate thousands of American citizens who have been extrajudicially targeted as dissidents or undesirables. Gunderson also claimed that his efforts to expose gang stalking resulted in him becoming a victim himself, as efforts were made to silence him.
Here is an audio clip from a presentation Gunderson gave in which he described how organized stalking tactics – such as electronic surveillance and “gas lighting” – were used against him.
According to Gunderson, gang stalking had been operational since the early 1980s (i.e., it began only a few years after the U.S. Senate thought they had pulled the plug on COINTELPRO following the Church Committee investigations). Gunderson said that the scope, intensity, and sophistication of gang stalking increased since its inception, as it exploited new surveillance and communication technologies.
Analysis of Ted Gunderson’s claims about gang stalking is complicated for several reasons. On one hand, as a former high-level FBI official who worked in the agency during the era of COINTELPRO, he had professional expertise and first-hand experience with that agency’s counterintelligence operations. On the other hand, his public statements about gang stalking – in his affidavit which you can view below, as well as in his public discussions of the matter, which can be found on YouTube, include references to various fringe topics, such as Satanism, child sex rings, and such.
Those claims – along with the fact that he is no longer around to clarify or defend them – raise several questions that might never be answered. Gunderson never provided any documentation or other evidence to support what he said. One possible explanation for the more bizarre things he discussed is that he could have simply been nuts. That explanation, however, begs a serious question for anyone who is skeptical that COINTELPRO and MK Ultra have essentially continued as what is now called “gang stalking.” How is it that a high-level official in the FBI managed to work for the bureau for three decades – during which he handled high-profile cases and received glowing performance evaluations (which you can view here) – without anyone inside or outside the FBI noticing that he was crazy?
The most plausible explanation for Gunderson’s bizarre claims is that he was continuing to work for the FBI – at least informally – after he officially retired, and he was spreading disinformation. That explanation is consistent with Gunderson’s FBI career – in which he participated in the original COINTELPRO, and in which he was never perceived by anyone as crazy. A common disinformation tactic used in counterintelligence operations is to discredit a person or idea by associating the person or idea with craziness, and that is very likely what he was doing.
Note this: if one insists upon interpreting Gunderson’s public statements as being delusions rather than disinformation, that analysis would seem to imply that the FBI is even more of a rogue agency than its harshest critics allege, since it would mean that the bureau is run by lunatics.
FBI’s Gang Stalking Campaign Against Actress Jean Seberg
For a sense of the evil nature of gang stalking, take a look at one of the most high-profile well-documented cases of it perpetrated by the FBI in the days of the original COINTELPRO operations.
My November 23, 2013 post on the “COINTELPRO News (2013)” page of this website is on a documentary about the well-known film actress, Jean Seberg, who was systematically terrorized by the FBI for her support of the civil rights movement.
This was a case with explicitly incriminating “smoking gun” FBI memos and mainstream news reports documenting what the feds did to their victim. (Those documents are included in my post.)
FBI agents blacklisted Seberg, slandered her by planting false stories about her in the news media, monitored her with covert surveillance (wiretaps), and terrorized her with overt surveillance (stalking) and black bag jobs (break-ins).
Emotional distress from the FBI’s operations against Ms. Seberg – while she was pregnant – apparently caused her to give birth prematurely (her baby died), and ultimately led her to commit suicide. Ms. Seberg was just one of many victims targeted by the FBI’s secret police program.
A fascinating but under-reported aspect of COINTELPRO is the break-in which led to the program’s exposure.
In his March 8, 2006 Los Angeles Times article on the subject, Allan M. Jalon described the event:
THIRTY-FIVE YEARS ago today, a group of anonymous activists broke into the small, two-man office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Media, Pa., and stole more than 1,000 FBI documents that revealed years of systematic wiretapping, infiltration and media manipulation designed to suppress dissent.
The Citizens’ Commission to Investigate the FBI, as the group called itself, forced its way in at night with a crowbar while much of the country was watching the Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier fight. When agents arrived for work the next morning, they found the file cabinets virtually emptied.
Within a few weeks, the documents began to show up — mailed anonymously in manila envelopes with no return address — in the newsrooms of major American newspapers. When the Washington Post received copies, Atty. Gen. John N. Mitchell asked Executive Editor Ben Bradlee not to publish them because disclosure, he said, could “endanger the lives” of people involved in investigations on behalf of the United States.
Nevertheless, the Post broke the first story on March 24, 1971, after receiving an envelope with 14 FBI documents detailing how the bureau had enlisted a local police chief, letter carriers and a switchboard operator at Swarthmore College to spy on campus and black activist groups in the Philadelphia area.
More documents went to other reporters — Tom Wicker received copies at his New York Times office; so did reporters at the Los Angeles Times — and to politicians including Sen. George McGovern of South Dakota and Rep. Parren J. Mitchell of Maryland.
To this day, no individual has claimed responsibility for the break-in. The FBI, after building up a six-year, 33,000-page file on the case, couldn’t solve it. But it remains one of the most lastingly consequential (although underemphasized) watersheds of political awareness in recent American history…
An article in the January 7, 2014 New York Times revealed the identities of the activists who exposed COINTELPRO by breaking into that FBI office to obtain the secret documents.
A documentary film about the break-in, 1971, was released in 2015.
The Official Reports
Since the FBI committed so many crimes against Americans during the COINTELPRO era, there are thousands of pages of documents in the U.S. Senate’s Church Committee reports. Most Congressional reports are boring – but not these. Among the most interesting documents (and the most relevant to gang stalking) are the three which you can view or download below.
Just browsing through the contents pages gives a sense of the scope of the FBI’s crimes. Here are some of the topic headings:
Use of illegal or improper means, Mail opening, Political abuse, Ignoring the law, Efforts to discredit, Media manipulation, Distorting data to influence government policy and public perception, Congress declines to confront the issue, “Infiltration,” Investigations, Wiretaps, Bugging, FBI political intelligence for the White House, Exaggeration of communist influence, “Black Bag”jobs, Misuse of the IRS by the FBI and CIA, Targeting of ideological groups, NSA monitoring, Warrantless electronic surveillance, Domestic intelligence network, Violent and illegal activities of informants, Targeting law-abiding citizens, Targeting critics and political figures, Attorneys general failure to limit and control FBI intelligence activities, Efforts to promote enmity and factionalism within groups or between groups, Encouraging violence between groups, Efforts to prevent speaking/teaching/writing and publishing, Propaganda, Fictitious organizations, Disseminating derogatory information to family, friends, and associates, Contacts with employers, Interference with the judicial process, Blurred distinction between counterintelligence and investigation.
These reports are filled with interesting stuff. For example, Volume 6 of the hearings contains, among other items, a letter about “black bag jobs” (referred to as such). Book 2 of the final reports refers to an apparent attempt to blackmail Martin Luther King, Jr. and encourage him to commit suicide (pages 220-221).
This U.S. Senate webpage has all the Church Committee reports:
A few of the high-profile individuals deemed “subversives” by the FBI and targeted under the original COINTELPRO operations: Martin Luther King, Jr., John Lennon, and Jean Seberg.
Accounts of Organized Stalking from the COINTELPRO Era
Robert Guffey – author of the October 2013 Fortean Times magazine cover article on “state-sponsored gangstalking” – posted a reference to the following material on his blog, Cryptoscatology on January 26, 2014. These are unpublished notes written by the late John A. Keel (1930—2009), a journalist whom Guffey describes as “without a doubt the preeminent investigator of the paranormal in the 20th century.”
Guffey says this of the origins of gang stalking:
“Of course, at this point one can’t be certain of the phenomenon’s true origins; however, it appears that such organized harassment was indeed operative at least as far back as the 1960s and ‘70s when John A. Keel was at the peak of his investigative prowess.”
These accounts of organized stalking – apparently perpetrated by U.S. government agents – are from the same period as the FBI’s COINTELPRO activities, which of course took place during the Cold War. Consequently, it does not seem far-fetched that federal agents might have investigated and intimidated individuals who were closely monitoring unusual aircraft activity (UFOs).
Here are the notes. Since they were apparently not intended for publication, and since they are posted in a somewhat confusing format regarding sequence, I recommend that you disregard the entry numbers and part numbers and section numbers, and just read through them in this order:
The CIA’s official mission statement refers to spying on America’s “adversaries” – which generally refers to foreign adversaries. On the other hand, the mission statement also proclaims that the CIA “upholds the highest standards of conduct” – even though the agency has a well-documented history of involvement with things like torture, assassinations, drug trafficking, and orchestrating coups against democratically-elected governments.
Despite its mission statement, the long list of moral and legal transgressions by the CIA includes spying on Americans based on their political beliefs (in the past and recently), and – in the case of Project MK Ultra – performing secret unethical experiments on Americans.
As described in the section which follows this one, the CIA reportedly also has a role in the training of local Law Enforcement Intelligence Units (LEIUs).
Whatever your assessment of the possible nature and scope of illegal counterintelligence activities currently taking place in the U.S., it is worth considering the implications of the CIA’s history of performing secret mind-control experiments on American (and Canadian) citizens.
In Project MKUltra, which ran from the early 1950s until the early 1970s, the CIA secretly conducted mind-control and interrogation experiments. Many of the experiments were performed without the consent of the subjects, and in some cases without the subjects even being aware that they were being used for experimentation.
Methods that were tested included sensory deprivation, isolation, hypnosis, verbal and sexual abuse, electrical shocks, and the administration of drugs and substances which caused confusion, brain damage, blistering, and paralysis.
That might explain why there are no MKUltra tribute floats in America’s parades.
“In all, the agency conducted 149 separate mind-control experiments, and as many as 25 involved unwitting subjects. First-hand testimony, fragmentary government documents and court records show that at least one participant died, others went mad, and still others suffered psychological damage after participating in the project, known as MK Ultra.”
The above summary of MK Ultra from The Times should be viewed as
a conservative estimate of the scope of the program. The clue is the phrase “fragmentary government documents.” This is a vague reference to the fact that CIA Director Richard Helms – by his own admission – ordered the destruction of the program’s records in 1973.
Another reason to suspect that The Times’ account of MKUltra might
be understating the CIA’s crimes is that the newspaper has a history of sometimes functioning as a conveyor belt for that agency’s lies.
Experiments were performed at dozens of colleges and universities, hospitals, prisons, and pharmaceutical companies in the U.S. and Canada. Front organizations were used by the CIA to operate the program through those institutions, although in some cases the top officials at the institutions knew about the CIA’s involvement.
Keep that in mind when you evaluate the plausibility that a widespread program of organized stalking could exist without being compromised by various officials at private and public institutions and organizations.
In the mid-1970s the program was exposed by the U.S. Senate’s Church Committee investigations. Those investigations (which also examined COINTELPRO) were a response to a series of revelations about crimes by the U.S. government, including the attempted assassinations of foreign leaders, the U.S. Army’s spying on civilians, COINTELPRO, and the Watergate scandal.
This passage from Andrew Goliszek’s book In the Name of Science (2003) gives a sense of what was involved in MKUltra. These are descriptions of some of the of the experiments performed by Dr. Ewen Cameron, a psychiatrist paid by the CIA to study brainwashing:
In 1957, a young girl was led to a small room at Montreal’s Allan Memorial Institiute, her arms and legs strapped to a bed and electrodes from a Page-Russell electroconvulsive therapy machine attached to her head. When the signal was given, a switch was thrown, causing her frail body to stiffen then convulse uncontrollably from electroshock forty times more intense than was considered safe. Over the next few weeks, she was awakened three times a day and subjected to these multiple shocking sessions known as “depatterning.”
Another patient, this one an older man, was kept in a drug-induced state for several months while being forced to listen to an audiotaped message twelve to sixteeen hours per day. The purpose of this experiment, as well as the electroshock treatment, was to see how long it would take before repeated messages, physical shock, drugs, or a combination of all three would destroy a person’s personality…
Collateral Damage from MKUltra – The Unabomber
A series of bombings perpetrated from 1978 to 1995 killed three people and injured 23 others. The bomber, a mathematician named Theodore Kaczynski, was referred to as “the Unabomber” by the FBI before they discovered his identity.
Kaczynski had been one of the subjects of the CIA’s mind-control experiments while he was a student at Harvard University. An article in the June 2000 issue of the Atlantic suggested that the experiments could possibly have been a factor in Kaczynski’s later acts of violence.
Some excerpts from the article:
“As Sally Johnson, the forensic psychiatrist, reported, Kaczynski clearly began to experience emotional distress…”
“When, soon after, Kaczynski began to worry about the possibility of mind control, he was not giving vent to paranoid delusions…..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.”
Books about MKUltra
One of the best books on MKUltra is The Search for the “Manchurian Candidate” by John D. Marks, a former Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. State Department. Seymour Hersh – the famous investigative journalist who exposed the My Lai Massacre and Nixon’s secret bombing of Cambodia during the Vietnam war – said this of Marks’ book:
“A wonderful piece of investigative reporting. The best account we’ll
ever get of one of the seamiest episodes of American intelligence.”
Here are some examples of the book’s accounts of the CIA’s experiments:
“The frequent screams of patients that echoed through the hospital did not deter Cameron or most of his associates in their attempts to ‘depattern’ their subjects completely.”
“Sometimes, as in the case of Lauren G., patients would try to escape when the sedatives wore thin, and the staff would have
to chase after them.”
Another widely-praised book on MKUltra is Operation Mind Control by Walter Bowart (1978). An updated and expanded “researcher’s edition” published in 1994 can be viewed and downloaded for free as a pdf document here.
Here is the Congressional report on Project MKUltra.
In October 2014, it was reported that ABC is planning to produce a TV mini-series about MKUltra.
Calls for a new Church Committee-type Investigation
President Carter and Senator Frank Church (1977)
If there are reasons to think that the FBI, CIA, and NSA stopped secretly perpetrating crimes against Americans at some point after the U.S. Senate’s Church Committee investigations in the 1970s, I am unaware of them. Although the investigations succeeded in shining a light on the extreme abuses of power by U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies, the reforms which followed were nowhere close to being serious enough to rein in the rogue tendencies of those agencies.
Arguably, the situation today is much worse than it was in the era of
J. Edgar Hoover. Surveillance technologies are now vastly more sophisticated, and there has been an enormous expansion of both the size and power of the public and private sectors of the spying industry. Oversight of domestic covert operations is minimal.
Because of such concerns– and scandals such as the NSA’s secret mass surveillance programs – many individuals, publications, and organizations have called for another Church Committee-type investigation. An article at Salon in July of 2008, for example, addressed the issue:
“If we know this much about torture, rendition, secret prisons and warrantless wiretapping despite the administration’s attempts to stonewall, then imagine what we don’t know,” says a senior Democratic congressional aide who is familiar with the proposal [for a Church Committee-style investigation] and has been involved in several high-profile congressional investigations. [emphasis added]
Here is a partial list of the calls for new hearings to investigate the scope of illegal domestic spying and other such crimes:
Forbes September 20, 2012
CounterPunch January 21, 2013
Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) June 7, 2013
New Republic June 11, 2013
Daniel Ellsberg July 1, 2013
The Atlantic August 2013
truthout February 25, 2014
The Nation March 12, 2014
Members of the original Church Committee March 17, 2014
U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) March 19, 2014
Red Squads – also called Law Enforcement Intelligence Units (LEIUs)
Red Squads – also called Law Enforcement Intelligence Units (LEIUs) are intelligence units within local police departments (especially urban police departments). Since the late 1800s they have been used for infiltrating criminal organizations – and groups which are deemed to be politically subversive.
The Haymarket Riot
The most famous example of Red Squad-type activity was in Chicago in 1886 when police officers and private security agents working for the Pinkerton Detective Agency used spying and violence to suppress a labor rights movement. That culminated in a violent riot at a labor rally in the Haymarket Square. When it was over, 7 policemen and at least 4 workers were dead. As many as 70 people were injured (approximately 60 of them police officers). After a trial – which was widely viewed as unfair – 8 labor activists were convicted for their alleged role in the violence. Of the 8 laborers, 4 were executed by hanging, 1 committed suicide, and 3 received prison sentences. The riot and the violence which preceded it – police had killed two laborers the day before – gave rise to the annual celebration of International Workers’ Day or May Day. The incident also led to the creation of the first official Red Squad.
Harper’s Magazine – May 1886
The two images below were published in Harper’s shortly after the riot.
The Haymarket Riot – Harper’s Weekly, May 15, 1886
Police officers killed for being paid thugs?
Historical information about the Haymarket affair is insufficient to make any assessment of how many – if any – of the seven police officers killed in the Haymarket Riot, or how many of the approximately 60 police officers injured, were corrupt goons terrorizing laborers on behalf of the Chicago political establishment. There is no way to say, in other words, to what extent the officers who were injured and killed might have been what gang stalking victims in the U.S. today refer to as “perps” (perpetrators of counterintelligence crimes).
Click image to enlarge
Police officers killed in the Haymarket Riot
Harper’s Magazine – May 2015
Now, 129 years after its first reporting on Red Squads, Harper’s is still covering the issue. A May 2015 article, “Beyond the Broken Window,” is about current spying by local police departments, and it also reviews the historical origins of the phenomenon:
“The Haymarket Square bombing of 1886…led to the creation of the first Red Squad, in Chicago, where police used the incident to round up suspected radicals and individuals identified with the labor movement.”
The article explains how other cities – the piece focuses on Los Angeles in particular – have also been infested with Red Squads, and that efforts to eradicate these secret police gangs have been unsuccessful:
“Police spying in Los Angeles goes back to the city’s Red Squads in the early twentieth century, when powerful trade organizations, seeking to thwart unionization efforts among the city’s working class, championed a broadly repressive agenda of police surveillance, wiretapping, and infiltration of organized labor by undercover agents. During the First World War, police in Los Angeles expanded their focus to include ideological subversion, hunting for radicals and “disloyal” people and groups. By the end of the Sixties, the successor to the LAPD’s Red Squad, the Public Disorder Intelligence Division, had gathered some 2 million secret files over the course of fifty years on all manner of legitimate dissenters, from the Wobblies to antipoverty groups to antiwar protesters. In 1970, the P.D.I.D. spied on students and professors at UCLA who were suspected of “conspiratorial activities,” and agents provocateurs infiltrated student demonstrations. The target list included political organizations as well as church and social-welfare groups and charities, categorizing suspect individuals as “controversial,” “agitator,” “anti-establishment,” “anti-police,” or “engaged in protest.” Dossiers were maintained on city-council members and the mayor.
In 1976, after these programs came to light, the city’s Board of Police Commissioners, a civilian panel that supervises the LAPD, ordered the department to destroy its surveillance records, but in 1983 a grand jury found that officers had retained boxes of files and that the P.D.I.D. was still keeping tabs on more than 200 organizations, including the Coalition Against Police Abuse and Citizens Commission on Police Repression. These two groups were part of a civil suit the next year that resulted in a $1.8 million settlement from the city, which forced the LAPD to enter into a consent decree that curtailed some of the worst surveillance practices. After the grand-jury revelations, the P.D.I.D. was finally disbanded, but was immediately reconstituted as the Anti-Terrorist Division…”
“Protectors of Privilege”
Well-researched studies of Red Squads – most notably, Protectors of Privilege (1990) by civil rights lawyer Frank Donner – show that federal, state, and local governments, and the business community, have often used red squads as political enforcers and corporate mercenaries. In many cases the targets are labor unions, leftists, and other dissidents.
Here, for example, is Donner’s description (on page 12) of the role of law enforcement personnel and private intelligence contractors in Chicago during the 1880s:
“The reliance by the Chicago business community on repressive police tactics to deal with labor unrest was unconcealed. Indeed, the Chicago police were as much the minions of the business community as hired Pinkertons.”
A Los Angeles Times review of Donner’s book explains why police officers would want to participate in Red Squads:
“The cops love these free-wheeling, elite units. They were ostensibly created to combat terrorism, but have been used mostly to infiltrate and suppress liberal and radical political organizations and civil rights groups. They lift their members out of the routine of police work into something of a James Bond life….
….The elite Red squads work on their own, usually reporting directly to the chief, operating outside normal department procedures.”
Ostensibly, the role of Red Squads has been to keep the public safe from criminal and terrorist organizations, although historically red squads have often been more involved in dishing out terror than preventing it.
Although many individuals targeted by organized stalking in the U.S. today are apparently unaware of the history of Red Squads, some activists in the past were very much aware of the legacy of such law enforcement units and the ongoing threat to civil liberties and democracy they presented (and still present).
A commemorative statue of a policeman was erected in Haymarket Square in 1889. On the 41st anniversary of the Haymarket affair – in 1927 – a streetcar driver apparently crashed into the monument intentionally. The statue was restored and eventually re-located. In 1969 the statue was destroyed by a bomb. In 1970, after it was re-built, it was blown up again. Apparently, not everyone is a fan of cops who serve as corporate thugs. The current version of the statue resides at the Chicago Police Department headquarters.
Association of Law Enforcement Intelligence Units
“Law Enforcement Intelligence Unit” (LEIU) is the modern term for “Red Squad.”
Origin of the Association of LEIUs
In 1956, the same year the FBI initiated its COINTELPRO program, 26 Red Squads gathered in San Francisco and formed an organization for sharing confidential intelligence about crime. They adopted the name Law Enforcement Intelligence Unit. In 2008, the organization changed its name to the “Association of Law Enforcement Intelligence Units” but they retained the original acronym, LEIU.
In addition to maintaining a system of sharing criminal intelligence, LEIU provides training and technical assistance to its members.
Here is LEIU’s official website.
The Connection between LEIUs and Organized Stalking
Organized stalking is a set of counterintelligence tactics rather than a specific program. News articles, books, anecdotal accounts, and government reports cited throughout the Fight Gang Stalking website suggest that the tactics are used by local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, and by U.S. intelligence agencies, as well as by private security-intelligence firms. Many of those reports about organized stalking also make clear that the operations are sometimes initiated for corporate or political agendas, and for purely personal vendettas.
Regardless of exactly how the majority of organized stalking operations are perpetrated, it is inconceivable that members of Law Enforcement Intelligence Units (LEIUs) would not be aware of those operations – if not participating in them or even orchestrating them.
A major red flag is the fact that the LEIU association is a quasi-governmental entity. Although the group received federal funding to create a networked database of criminal intelligence to share among its members, it is a private, tax-exempt organization, and therefore mostly independent of any real oversight.
“America’s Secret Police Network”
The LEIU maintains a very low profile outside the law enforcement community; few people in the general public are even aware of its existence. Civil liberties groups familiar with the LEIU have expressed serious concerns about the lack of any external accountability for its activities, such as its handling of sensitive intelligence.
Media reports about the LEIU began to emerge in the 1970s. Pulitzer Prize nominee George O’Toole, a novelist and historian who specialized in the history of American espionage and who had worked for the CIA, wrote an article about the LEIU. “America’s Secret Police Network” was published in the December 1976 issue of Penthouse. The article – a copy of which is posted at the end of this section – is a remarkable piece of journalism.
Over the 5 or 6 years preceding the publication of the article Americans had become aware of a whole set of major conspiracies perpetrated by their government, including Cointelpro, the Pentagon Papers, Watergate, MK Ultra, and the CIA’s domestic spying program Operation CHAOS. Yet the existence of the LEIU and the nature of its activities remained – and still remains – mostly below the radar of the press and the American public.
Here – in O’Toole’s words – is a description of the LEIU network. For anyone familiar with reports of organized stalking in the U.S., this ought to ring a few bells:
“The organization forms a vast network of intelligence units that exchange dossiers and conduct investigations on a reciprocal basis. Several of the police departments belonging to the group have recently been caught in illegal wiretapping, burglary, and spying on the private lives of ordinary citizens. The LEIU is, in effect, a huge, private domestic-intelligence agency.”
O’Toole’s article emphasized the extreme secrecy of the LEIU. He noted that in many cases, even other police officers were often unaware of the nature of the intelligence units:
“In Baltimore many veteran officers were completely unaware of the existence of the Inspectional Services Division….In fact, the Baltimore cops were themselves targets of ISD spying when they went out on strike in 1974; undercover officers from the unit photographed policemen as they walked picket lines outside their station houses….”
“….In Chicago, too, the Red Squad’s activities were shrouded from the rest of the police department. Recruits selected to serve in the unit bypassed training in the police academy so that former classmates couldn’t identify them later.”
Reportedly, when LEIUs are in danger of having their crimes exposed by state investigations and grand juries, they apparently make sure that attorneys, reporters, and witnesses are controlled and intimidated – including even their own members:
In Chicago a state’s attorney investigating the police received a report that his own phone had been tapped. A Baltimore newspaper reporter critical of the police was the target of surveillance and other harassment; on three occasions when he returned to his car parked in the police department’s parking lot, he found that the tire lugs had been loosened….
….In Chicago many officers who were called in the grand jury investigation of the Red Squad received the same anonymous telephone message: “We know you have seen the state’s attorney. If you want to stay healthy, you’d better not talk before the grand jury.”
O’Toole also reported that LEIUs burned their files to avoid having them seen by investigators.
Use of Civilian Spies
One of the elements of LEIU operations which is consistent with contemporary accounts of organized stalking – and with accounts of operations conducted by communist East Germany’s Stasi – is the use of civilian spies.
From the perspective of police intelligence units, the most useful civilians are those who share the police officers’ contempt for the United States Constitution:
A Chicago grandmother who was paid twenty-five dollars per month by the Red Squad to infiltrate church and community groups told reporters from the Chicago Daily News, “I am a police spy, and I am proud of it. I do police-spy work because, as far as I’m concerned, God and Country come first….You guys are so busy worrying about constitutional rights, along with the Communists, that they are going to take us over.”
Illegal Electronic Surveillance
Another practice of LEIUs reported by George O’Toole which is a common element of most or all organized stalking accounts is the use of illegal electronic surveillance:
“The most common type of criminality among LEIU intelligence squads is illegal wiretapping, which is almost always done with some degree of cooperation from the local telephone company. A former Baltimore vice-squad officer told the Maryland Senate investigating committee that the intelligence squad routinely installed illegal telephone taps with the aid of an ex-cop who worked for the Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company.”
In another incident mentioned in the article, Chicago police intelligence officers used blackmail to coerce employees of Illinois Bell to cooperate in illegal wiretapping.
Corporations “Surrendering Information About Their Clients”
Telephone company cooperation in illegal wiretapping is just one example of a long history of complicity of American corporations in government programs involving spying and lying. Famed Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein reported, for example, that CBS News was essentially a puppet of the CIA during the 1950s and ‘60s. That kind
of unethical collusion continues today: the NSA documents leaked in 2013 by Edward Snowden revealed that U.S. tech companies cooperated with the NSA’s data collection scheme called PRISM.
Apparently, LEIUs have long exploited American corporations’ willingness to violate the rights of their customers:
“A police textbook on [LEIU spying] advises intelligence officers to cultivate contacts in utility companies, airlines, banks, newspapers, bonding companies, private detective agencies, and credit bureaus. The Federal Privacy Protection Study Commission recently heard testimony from such companies as American Express and Sheraton Hotels, in which they admitted that they routinely surrendered information about their clients and guests to law-enforcement officers on a simple oral request, without requiring a court order.”
LEIU as a Weapon for Personal Vendettas
The nature of the LEIU was – and still is – a perfect design for the abuse of power: a secretive private organization with government funding, police powers and secret files on citizens across the country. The group has essentially no civilian oversight because it is exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.
LEIU is a perfect weapon to use against an individual who crosses anyone with connections to it. Here is O’Toole’s description of how a dossier can be opened on a targeted individual:
“Any LEIU member can open a file on an individual simply by filling out a form and obtaining the approval of the local LEIU regional chairman.”
Some of the organizational structure and procedures have no doubt changed in the past few decades, although the group is still shrouded in secrecy, so it is difficult to know exactly how it might differ now – apart from its use of digital databases and more technologically advanced spy gear. The group’s fundamental nature is still ideal for perpetrating acts of extra-judicial punishment by goon squads of corrupt police officers:
“In setting up the LEIU, the cops have created the skeleton of a national police force that is also, in essence, a vigilante organization.”
Connections between the LEIU, FBI, U.S. Military, & CIA
Agencies at all levels of government often have tribal attitudes toward other agencies. Each branch of the military, for example, tends to pursue its own agenda to a certain extent while simultaneously working to support a common goal of national security. The federal intelligence community also has well-known rivalries between agencies, each of which desires to see its relative prestige and influence maximized.
Those turf battles exist in the law enforcement community as well of course; sometimes there are tensions between the FBI and local police for example. In fact, O’Toole explains in his article that one of the motivations for establishing the LEIU association was to enable national intelligence sharing among police in a system which was independent from the FBI.
On the other hand, all of America’s law enforcement and intelligence agencies now have access to enormous amounts of information – for example, through the national network of data fusion centers. It would be impossible for the feds to be unaware of widespread use of organized stalking by local police – and vice versa.
Their silence on the issue implies that the feds approve of what is happening. The material in the Published News Reports section of this overview indicates that federal agencies use the same tactics against targeted individuals themselves – just as they were caught doing in the Cointelpro era.
In the absence of more whistle-blower revelations, it is impossible to know precisely how the various local, federal and private elements of America’s Stasi might be colluding with each other to perpetrate counterintelligence operations, but there have been some glimpses. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) pointed out that the secret NSA documents released by Edward Snowden showed a close relationship between the NSA and the FBI:
“A series of slides demonstrated that the FBI essentially serves as an attack dog for the NSA, doing the NSA’s domestic dirty work.”
LEIU’s Connection to U.S. Army Intelligence
Many accounts of organized stalking include reports of sophisticated electronic surveillance, black bag operations, and exotic weapons. O’Toole’s reporting offers an insight into how such tactics and equipment are acquired by police department intelligence units:
“U.S. Army Intelligence, which in the recent past has shown a disturbing propensity for spying on Americans, is more than a little chummy with the local cops in many cities. The Army trained several Baltimore intelligence-squad officers in techniques of electronic eavesdropping and surreptitious entry at its Fort Holabird spy school in Maryland. In return, the Baltimore cops passed along many of their intelligence reports to the army. In Chicago the Red Squad was in daily contact with the army’s 113th Military Intelligence Group during the late 1960s and early 1970s, passing along intelligence reports and receiving a variety of technical assistance.”
The CIA’s Involvement in Domestic Spying
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has also been caught performing domestic spying. The previously-mentioned Operation CHAOS was shut-down in 1973, after the exposure of other conspiracies such as Cointelpro and the Watergate break-in. The true nature of CHAOS – a massive illegal program of spying on Americans based on their political views – was not known until December 1974 however, when it was exposed in a New York Times article by Seymour Hersh.
Incidentally, the Watergate break-in also had a CIA connection – the exact nature of which is still not clear according to some reports. What is not disputed though is that a key figure in the break-in, Howard Hunt, was a former career CIA officer, and one of the burglars, Eugenio R. Martinez was still on the CIA’s payroll at the time of the break-in. Another accomplice, Alfred C. Baldwin III, was an ex-FBI agent.
At a minimum, the Watergate break-in showed that in America, corrupt politicians (and corrupt corporate executives) can draw upon a deep supply of corrupt ex-spies and corrupt ex-law enforcement agents to perform illegal special assignments as mercenaries.
The ACLU’s Allegations of the CIA’s Domestic Spying
O’Toole was not alone in his suspicions about the CIA’s participation in spying on Americans, and such concerns are arguably even more justified today. The following are excerpts from a page within the website of the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) which provides an overview of the agencies and programs which the ACLU suggests are involved in “illegal domestic spying.”
Because of the excessive secrecy surrounding CIA operations, little is known about its domestic activities. In its 1947 charter, the CIA was prohibited from spying against Americans….
….But the law didn’t stop the CIA from spying on Americans. During the 1960s, in clear violation of its statutory mission to co-ordinate foreign intelligence operations only, the CIA ventured into the domestic spying business through “Operation Chaos,” in which it spied on as many as 7,000 Americans involved in the peace movement.
Unfortunately, the exposure of intelligence failings before the 9/11 attacks caused policy makers to promote “information sharing” among intelligence and law enforcement agencies as a cure-all, creating the likelihood that the CIA would increasingly operate domestically. Today we know that the CIA is a participant in FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces, which engage in both foreign and domestic terrorism investigations. And the USA Patriot Act eased restrictions on the sharing of information the FBI collects in grand jury investigations and law enforcement wiretaps with the CIA. An ACLU lawsuit revealed that the CIA has also used National Security Letters to demand Americans’ personal financial records without prior court approval….
….The history of the CIA’s abuse of power and the continuing lack of public accountability over CIA operations make such revelations concerning to civil liberties advocates. The CIA’s involvement in the NYPD intelligence activities targeting innocent Muslim communities in the Northeast reveal the CIA is once again treating Americans as suspected enemies.
The CIA’s Connection to the LEIU
George O’Toole had serious concerns about the potential for federal agencies such as the CIA to exploit the LEIU – in addition to the threats posed by the LEIU itself because of its lawless spying.
His article noted that the CIA had very close ties to the police department in Fairfax County, Virginia, where the CIA headquarters is located. The Fairfax Police Department is a member of the LEIU.
“Ties between the CIA and the Fairfax County police are, to say the least, close. The agency has given the Fairfax cops training in electronic surveillance, surreptitious entry, lockpicking, safecracking, and explosives. It has provided equipment and personnel to assist the police department in several of its investigations.”
O’Toole’s article even includes details of a felony break-in perpetrated in February 1971 by several Fairfax County police officers and CIA agents. The break-in was led by the chief of the police department himself. Such collusion among various agencies and corporations to perpetrate crimes against American citizens is a deep corruption of democracy, as the author notes:
“[The LEIU is part of] a powerful dossier subculture in America,
a vast old-boy network that ties together intelligence agencies, police departments, credit bureaus, private detective agencies, bonding companies, and the many other collectors and compilers of personal information about private citizens. It is an aggregation of police power beyond the direct control of the democratic process.”
Here is O’Toole’s entire article: America’s Secret Police Network
For a much more recent example of the connections between the CIA and the LEIU, you can see from the LEIU’s own website that their training seminars include presentations by people such as Bob Dougherty, a former CIA Operations Officer.
The San Francisco Chronicle’s Reporting on the LEIU
On November 25, 1978 the San Francisco Chronicle published an article called “Leaks to the Mob: U.S. Police Network’s Big Problem.” The article – and several others on the same incident – documented the kind of problem which critics of the LEIU have warned about: the misuse of intelligence.
Whenever an agency of a government gathers intelligence on its citizens, the potential for abuse is enormous – as was proven by the FBI’s Cointelpro, the CIA’s Operation CHAOS, and other programs. The potential for abuse of power when the agency is privately-run is even greater.
As the Chronicle reported, the FBI found that an intelligence specialist with the Las Vegas Police Department was passing information from the LEIU database to mobsters. The FBI issued a memo urging “that all FBI agents be discreet in future dealings with [the LEIU].”
The New York Times’ Reporting on the LEIU
In April 1979 the New York Times published an article which reviewed a three-and-a-half-year study of the LEIU by the American Friends Service Committee. The study described the LEIU as “an old-boy network.”
Most of the article posted at the above link is behind a subscription paywall. Here are a few quotes which give a sense of the report’s conclusions:
“[The report] maintains that police surveillance of groups and individuals for political purposes is continuing on a vast scale in the nation.”
“[The report found that illegal surveillance was happening and that it posed] a grave threat to the constitutional rights of freedom of expression, due process and privacy.”
Protest Against the LEIU – Seattle, June 2003
On June 2, 2003 about 400 protestors gathered in Seattle outside the Red Lion Inn where the LEIU was holding a training seminar titled “Criminal Intelligence and the War on Terrorism.” The seminar was co-hosted by the FBI and other police agencies.
A dozen activists were arrested, and police used pepper spray and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd. Demonstrators were protesting the domestic spying policies of the Patriot Act and the Seattle Police Department’s membership in the LEIU.
Here is a video of the protest:
As quoted in the news report of the incident in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, one of the protesters said that the LEIU association “acts basically as a secret political police in the United States.”
Insignia of East Germany’s “Ministry for State Security”
Counterintelligence methods used by communist East Germany’s secret police agency – the Stasi – are among the elements of organized stalking operations in the U.S. today.
The Stasi referred to its psychological terrorism against individual dissidents as “Zersetzung” – which translates as “decomposition” or “corrosion.” As used by the Stasi, the term meant “to undermine or subvert.” Zersetzung is the noun; zersetzen is the verb.
Methods used by the Stasi – overt and covert surveillance, slander, and psychological operations (“psyops”) tactics – were essentially identical to those currently used in counterintelligence operations in America.
Arguably, the Stasi’s use of Zersetzung is much more relevant to modern gang stalking in the U.S. than is the FBI’s program of COINTELPRO operations. In the decades since COINTELPRO, a far more comprehensive and sophisticated domestic surveillance system has been developed in the U.S. than what existed during the era of J. Edgar Hoover. The nature of America’s spying network has moved much further toward that of a police state.
Although the Stasi’s technology for “signals intelligence” (interception of electronic communications) was primitive compared to that now used by the National Security Agency (NSA) to monitor Americans, the Stasi was famous for exploiting “human intelligence” to control East Germany’s citizens. A January 2008 article in Wired magazine described it this way:
“As the enforcement arm of the German Democratic Republic’s Communist Party, the Stasi at its height in 1989 employed 91,000 people to watch a country of 16.4 million. A sprawling bureaucracy almost three times the size of Hitler’s Gestapo was spying on a population a quarter that of Nazi Germany.
Unlike the prison camps of the Gestapo or the summary executions of the Soviet Union’s KGB, the Stasi strove for subtlety. “They offered incentives, made it clear people should cooperate, recruited informal helpers to infiltrate the entire society,” says Konrad Jarausch, a historian at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “They beat people up less often, sure, but they psychologically trampled people. Which is worse depends on what you prefer.”
That finesse helped the Stasi quell dissent, but it also fostered a pervasive and justified paranoia.”
The interrogation center where some of the psychological
torture methods of Zersetzung were refined
These are the isolation cells in the Hohenschoenhausen
Prison in Berlin – which is now a museum.
Click on image to enlarge.
The following excerpt from a Wikipedia entry on the Stasi provides a good description of its strategy and tactics – which were virtually identical to “gang stalking.”
By the 1970s, the Stasi had decided that methods of overt persecution which had been employed up to that time, such as arrest and torture, were too crude and obvious. It was realised that psychological harassment was far less likely to be recognised for what it was, so its victims, and their supporters, were less likely to be provoked into active resistance, given that they would often not be aware of the source of their problems, or even its exact nature. Zersetzung was designed to side-track and “switch off” perceived enemies so that they would lose the will to continue any “inappropriate” activities.
Tactics employed under Zersetzung generally involved the disruption of the victim’s private or family life. This often included psychological attacks such as breaking into homes and messing with the contents – moving furniture, altering the timing of an alarm, removing pictures from walls or replacing one variety of tea with another. Other practices included property damage, sabotage of cars, purposely incorrect medical treatment, smear campaigns including sending falsified compromising photos or documents to the victim’s family, denunciation, provocation, psychological warfare, psychological subversion, wiretapping, bugging, mysterious phone calls or unnecessary deliveries, even including sending a vibrator to a target’s wife. Usually victims had no idea the Stasi were responsible. Many thought they were losing their minds, and mental breakdowns and suicide could result.
One great advantage of the harassment perpetrated under Zersetzung was that its subtle nature meant that it was able to be denied. That was important given that the GDR was trying to improve its international standing during the 1970s and 80s.
Zersetzung techniques have since been adopted by other security agencies, particularly the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB).
For more information on the psychological torture methods used by the Stasi – many of which are being used today in the U.S. – you can visit this website.
The use of energy weapons by the Stasi
Counterintelligence tactics used by the Stasi were remarkably similar to the tactics now being reported by victims of ongoing Cointelpro harassment in the U.S. Even the most exotic form of torture associated with organized stalking – the use of energy weapons – is an issue which appears in news reports about East Germany’s secret police.
An article published by BBC News in May 1999 describes the allegations about the Stasi’s possible use of energy weapons against dissidents:
When three of former East Germany’s best-known dissidents died within a few months of each other, of similar rare forms of leukaemia, suspicions were aroused among their friends that this was more than just a coincidence.
The writer Juergen Fuchs was convinced before his death this month that he had been deliberately exposed to high levels of radiation by the East German secret police, the Stasi, which could have caused his terminal cancer….
In 1989, when the Berlin Wall came down, members of East German citizens’ committees occupied prisons across the country.
Some of them were surprised to find powerful X-ray equipment there – not, as you might expect, in the medical centres, but in the rooms where prisoners had their photographs taken….
Thomas Auerbach works as a scientific researcher for the main authority investigating the Stasi. He saw X-ray equipment himself when he was taking part in a sit-in in an East German prison.
He has seen the documents which show that a variety of experiments were being carried out involving the potential uses of radiation as a means of poison and sabotage.
He believes that instead of X-rays, it was highly likely that radioactive isotopes were used to try to induce cancer in prisoners.
Books and Films about the Stasi
Zersetzung der Selle (“Decomposition of the Soul”)
Subtitle: Psychologie und Psychiatrie im Dienste der Stasi (“psychology and psychiatry in the service of the Stasi”)
This book about the Stasi’s methods of psychological torture was published in 1995. The authors, Klaus Behnke and Jürgen Fuchs, studied psychology in East Germany before being expelled in 1977. Unfortunately, as of this writing, the book has not been translated into English.
Zersetzung was the term used by the Stasi to describe the psychological operations (psyops) element of their counterintelligence subversion. The objective was to emotionally and socially destroy individuals who were perceived as dissidents, and to do so in a manner which would not be obvious to others.
Unfortunately, there does not seem to be an English language translation of this book. Similarly, the 2002 documentary based on this book does not seem to be available with English subtitles.
Das Leben der Anderen (“The Lives of Others”)
This film about the Stasi won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film (2006).
Here is a New York Times review of the movie.
A man who was a target of the Stasi describes the infamous agency
In this 15-minute TED speech given in Berlin in June 2014, Hubertus Knabe, a German historian who was a victim of the Stasi (he was under surveillance for smuggling banned books), describes the infamous secret police agency, and its system of Zersetzung.
Here is the description which accompanies the video:
Tour the deep dark world of the East German state security agency known as Stasi. Uniquely powerful at spying on its citizens, until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 the Stasi masterminded a system of surveillance and psychological pressure that kept the country under control for decades. Hubertus Knabe studies the Stasi — and was spied on by them. He shares stunning details from the fall of a surveillance state, and shows how easy it was for neighbor to turn on neighbor.
“Hubertus Knabe: The dark secrets of a surveillance state”
Here is a transcript of the speech posted at the TED website.
The TED website showed that as of September 2014, this video had already been viewed over 700,000 times.
Chief of the Stasi
From 1957 until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the head of East Germany’s secret police was Erich Mielke. He was essentially the communist version of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. Mielke presided over a network of 85,000 full-time domestic spies and 170,000 civilian informants.
When a film company, LOOKS Filmproduktionen, began producing a documentary on Mielke, it submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the CIA for its records on the notorious Stasi leader, but the CIA denied the request.
In July 2014 Courthouse News reported that the film company filed a lawsuit to force the CIA to release its records on Mielke.
7. The national and international scope of
. gang stalking
Well-documented historical and contemporary reporting – including some of the examples cited in the Published News Reports section of this overview – suggest that organized stalking is used by various foreign intelligence services and law enforcement agencies. In the following section, for example, is a credible first-hand journalist’s account of organized stalking tactics being used by Russian intelligence agents. No one disputes that such tactics were widely used by East Germany’s Stasi.
Two mainstream news articles I posted in the Cointelpro News page of this website (October 10, 2004 and May 31, 2006) are about gang stalking tactics used by intelligence and law enforcement agencies in Northern Ireland and Canada. As I explain in the Gang Stalking Documents page of this website, a classified U.S. diplomatic cable published by WikiLeaks in 2010 also contained an apparent reference to the use of such tactics in Canada.
Incidentally, the U.S. Senate Church Committee investigations found that the government of Canada was also complicit in the infamous CIA program, MK Ultra.
Anectdotal evidence of the use of organized stalking by other Western governments also includes accounts such as this self-published book about gang stalking allegedly perpetrated on behalf of the Dutch royal family.
From my perspective, another indication of the international scope of gang stalking is the Internet traffic and emails to this website from countries all over the world.
Based on my personal experience and numerous accounts by self-proclaimed victims, organized stalking occurs across the U.S., so moving from one area to another is not likely to help. Similarly, international cooperation among law enforcement and intelligence agencies means that moving from the U.S. to Canada is probably not going to be helpful.
A quick note on that point: anyone in America who is considering moving to another country to escape illegal stalking by the U.S. government’s Stasi goons should probably avoid the four nations with the closest ties to the U.S. intelligence community: Canada, the U.K, Australia, and New Zealand. Lynnae Williams, a former CIA clandestine service trainee and former Defense Intelligence Agency analyst, is a self-proclaimed target of organized stalking by the FBI. She ultimately moved to Spain to find refuge.
Unfortunately for the criminals, traitors, and greedy contractors who run the U.S. intelligence community, Ms. Williams revealed that those agencies use sock puppets to monitor social media and to spread false information on the Internet – a claim which has also been confirmed by other sources. Hacked emails from intelligence contractors, for example, revealed elaborate disinformation schemes using sock puppets, and a smoking-gun NSA document leaked by Edward Snowden proved that the NSA collaborates with its British counterpart GCHQ to systematically spread lies the same way.
8. Investigation, surveillance, and harassment
Apparently, gang stalking begins with a deep investigation of the targeted individual.
An investigation serves multiple purposes in counterintelligence:
(1) Information gathered about the target can later be used to tailor the surveillance and harassment (subversion) strategies. In some cases, an investigation could also reveal that the target is unsuitable for gang stalking because he or she has connections and resources which would enable the target to fight back.
(2) In the unlikely event that acts of harassment get exposed, formal documentation that an “investigation” was being performed could possibly be cited to explain some of the suspicious activity (for example, overt stalking could be easily explained as “covert surveillance” that happened to be noticed by the target).
(3) Law enforcement and intelligence personnel – public and private – at various levels are sometimes under pressure to show that they are being productive, so there could well be a de facto quota for conducting investigations of “suspicious” persons.
(4) Acts of subversion can be seamlessly incorporated into what is ostensibly an investigation. As noted above, overt stalking is a prime example. Stalking was one of the tactics used by the FBI in their subversion campaign against the actress Jean Seberg during their Cointelpro operations, for example. (After years of such harassment she committed suicide.) Another tactic – also used during Cointelpro against various targeted individuals – was slander. An investigation provides a legally bullet-proof opportunity to slander the victim. If an investigator quietly begins questioning persons associated with a targeted individual (co-workers, friends, etc.), and tells them that he is conducting an investigation, it could easily destroy the target’s reputation and relationships.
Obtaining information from the targeted individual and from persons who know the targeted individual is a process undercover investigators and spies call “elicitation.” This pdf document from the FBI explains the strategies and tactics of elicitation: FBI Elicitation Tactics
“Surveillance equals power. The more you know about
someone, the more you can control and manipulate them
in all sorts of ways. That is one reason a Surveillance
State is so menacing to basic political liberties.”
– Glenn Greenwald
As with investigations, the surveillance element of organized stalking involves the same tactics used around the world by many private investigators, intelligence agents, and law enforcement personnel: black bag jobs, electronic surveillance (phone wiretaps, hacking of personal computers, listening devices, spy cameras, GPS-monitoring of vehicle location, etc.), combined with direct visual surveillance (“human intelligence”) by various accomplices.
Most personnel involved in managing and performing organized stalking are paid for their services – whether they work directly for an agency such as the FBI, or for private intelligence-security contractor firms, or as criminal “informants.” Others though, are recruited to assist as volunteers. For example, when the FBI’s illegal Cointelpro operations were exposed, internal documents showed that the agency had enlisted a local police chief, letter carriers, and a switchboard operator at Swarthmore College to spy on campus and black activist groups in the Philadelphia area.
Harassment (a.k.a. “Subversion”) Tactics
In counterintelligence, to “subvert” or “neutralize” an enemy is to make it impossible for that enemy to go about his business. Gang stalkers seek to keep their victim in a constant state of agitation and hyper-vigilance so that he or she will find it almost impossible to function.
This serves multiple purposes. For one thing, it makes it hard for the individual to pose a threat to the client of the gang stalkers – whether that is a corporation or a government.
Note that – as discussed in detail elsewhere in this website – the distinction between corporations and the government is often meaningless in America, given the vast industry of private intelligence contractors with secret clearances, the use of the FBI and other agencies to serve corporate interests, and the lucrative revolving-door nature of employment between the public and private spheres in law enforcement and intelligence. This is another obvious purpose of gang stalking: income for the perpetrators.
Another function of gang stalking is to exact revenge against the victim. Stalking is a form of extra-judical punishment for anyone who crosses someone with connections to the vast homeland security infrastructure.
Constant surveillance of targeted individuals (described above) is also an element of subversion. Anyone who knows that he or she is under constant surveillance will not only be inhibited from acting against the interests of the client of the gang stalkers, he or she will also find it difficult to fight back against the harassment or evade the surveillance itself because many efforts at counter-measures will be observed by the stalkers. In addition, anyone who is aware that he or she is constantly being watched by illegal spying will suffer the emotional trauma caused by having virtually no privacy.
“Harassment” is an appropriate description of many of the individual acts perpetrated against gang stalking victims since they are intended to annoy, anger, and frustrate the targeted individual – rather than, say, physically injure him or her. On the other hand, “harassment” does not begin to convey the severity of the cumulative psychological effects of organized stalking.
Slander, verbal abuse, noise, threats by strangers, constant surveillance, and other tactics, performed daily over a period of years will cause psychological torture, social isolation, and financial destruction.
According to some anonymous sources, the overall process is sometimes called “slow kill.” Regardless of whether that term is actually used by perperators of gang stalking, it is an appropriate description.
Historical origins of psychological torture methods
Some of the psychological operations tactics described below have ancient roots. For example, the use of noise to torment enemies dates back to the warfare of early civilizations – including the siege of Jericho in the Old Testament. Apparently, noise is still used in U.S. military psychological operations, although details about such tactics are mostly classified.
As noted above, it is clear that many of the tactics used in organized stalking were also used by East Germany’s Stasi (state police), who referred to the overall process as “zersetzung der seele” (decomposition of the soul).
Some of the core principles of organized stalking harassment are also used in military interrogations – such as those conducted on terrorist suspects at Guantánamo. Several of these concepts were documented by the sociologist Albert D. Biderman, in a 1957 journal article about coercive interrogation methods used by the Chinese to obtain confessions from American prisoners during the Korean War.
Among the methods documented by Biderman were isolation (depriving the victim of social support), “monopolization of perception” (fixing the victim’s attention upon his or her immediate predicament), sleep deprivation, threats, “demonstration of omnipotence” (to suggest the futility of resistance), and degradation (including “demeaning punishments, insults and taunts, and denial of privacy).
A copy of Biderman’s Chart of Coercion is on page 48 of this report.
Tactics chosen for their lack of evidence
For the most part, organized stalking tactics are chosen for their lack of directly observable and legally persuasive evidence. The idea is to completely destroy someone without leaving fingerprints.
Intelligence-gathering and policing are often done in ways that make it inherently difficult to prove misconduct. Gang stalking employs a refined set of practices specifically chosen for the lack of legally incriminating evidence, and for the likelihood that victims’ accounts will be perceived as simply paranoid impressions of routine events when described to others.
Victims’ accounts tend to be dismissed since their experiences sound like commonplace occurrences – because that is indeed what they are: strangers who are rude, noisy neighbors, bad service, being cut-off in traffic, etc. These are things which happen to everyone. But for gang stalking victims, these things happen constantly – which becomes a form of real psychological torture, which must be experienced to comprehend.
Below are the primary tactics associated with counterintelligence subversion. Keep in mind that, by all accounts, a gang stalking campaign starts employing these tactics long before the victim has any clue that he or she is being systematically targeted. Many of the early instances of harassment are only understood by the victim later when the whole process becomes clear. By that point, often the harassment and slandering might have been going on for years.
As mentioned above, an investigation – or even the pretense of an investigation – is a perfect opportunity to slander a target. If someone who even appears to be an investigator or undercover cop begins quietly asking neighbors, employers, relatives, and co-workers about a targeted individual, it will almost certainly begin to corrode that person’s reputation, even if no explicit allegations are made.
Sometimes slander in a counterintelligence operation can be much more aggressive. A textbook example is the FBI’s successful campaign to destroy the career and life of film actress Jean Seberg during their Cointelpro operations. That case is noteworthy both because it involved a high-profile target – Seberg was a successful actress in the prime of her career – and also because internal FBI memos and news reports explicitly revealed that they were deliberately spreading lies about her.
Tactics used in the spying-and-lying industry are unfamiliar to the general public. Many people will assume that anyone posing as an “investigator” is legitimate. If you doubt that, watch this video clip of an ABC program which features a demonstration of how easily citizens can be recruited to assist in crimes against strangers.
A tactic closely related to slander is blacklisting. For centuries blacklists have been used to identify and discriminate against individuals (and organizations) deemed to be undesirable. In U.S. history the most famous example was the blacklisting of leftists in the entertainment industry during the 1940s and 1950s.
The tactic is perfectly suited to counterintelligence subversion because it undermines the targeted individual in a way that will likely force the victim to be preoccupied with economic survival rather than political activism or whistle-blowing.
Newsweek magazine published an article in August 2000 titled “They Call it Mobbing.” The article (which you can see in the “Gang Stalking News” section of this website) describes a process of intense systematic harassment of a targeted employee by multiple co-workers and managers at his or her workplace. The abuse involves slandering and isolating an employee and verbal abuse. Apparently, this is a common element of gang stalking campaigns against targeted individuals. Since the tactic is apparently widespread – and since it is apparently connected in some cases to workplace violence – I have devoted the entire next section to it in this overview.
Black Bag Jobs
A common element among victims’ accounts of organized stalking is the experience of having their residences broken into. In the counterintelligence business, the slang term for this is a “black bag job.”
A “black bag job” is a clandestine entry into the residence, office, storage facility, or vehicle of a targeted individual or organization. The term is a reference to a small black bag filled with burglary tools. One of the most famous historical examples of a black bag operation was the Watergate break-in. Common goals of such operations include obtaining information and planting surveillance devices. They can also be used to steal or plant evidence, and to perpetrate acts of vandalism for psychological operations purposes.
Illegal black bag operations were conducted by the FBI during its original Cointelpro operations. For example, volume 6 of the U.S. Senate’s Church Committee investigations contains a letter about black bag jobs (referred to as such) which explicitly states that the FBI knew that the operations were clearly illegal.
Are such operations still illegal? That depends upon whether you subscribe to the subversive notion that the U.S. Constitution means what it says. In theory, the Fourth Amendment protects Americans from “unreasonable searches and seizures” conducted without a warrant based “upon probable cause.” As a practical matter though, individual rights in America have been massively eroded since the 9/11 terrorist attacks by such policies as the “USA Patriot Act.”
Under the Patriot Act, there has been an expansion of the use by law enforcement agencies of a Constitutionally-dubious tactic commonly referred to as a “sneak and peek” warrant. Officially called a “Delayed-Notice Search Warrant,” it allows police to covertly enter private residences, perform searches, and seize property without notifying the residents.
Here are a few discussions of this police state tactic:
An explanation of sneak and peek warrants by the ACLU (March 2002)
A criticism of the legal legitimacy of sneak and peek warrants by Donald E. Wilkes, Jr., Professor of Law, University of Georgia School of Law. (September 2002)
An article about a wrongly-accused man from Oregon who won a
$2 million settlement against the U.S. government because of his harassment by federal agents – which included black bag jobs. (November 2010)
“Federal authorities planted listening devices in his office, throughout his house – including in his bedroom – and tapped his phones. He and his family were kept under surveillance. Agents conducted “sneak and peak” searches, entering the home when the family was away.”
A more recent review of sneak and peek warrants, which notes that requests for such warrants are granted almost automatically. A study in 2010 found that judges denied such requests in less than one percent of all cases. (June 2014)
Another example of a classic psyops tactic often reported by gang stalking victims is “gas-lighting” – in which perpetrators enter the victim’s residence and re-locate certain objects to make victims doubt their own memory and create confusion – or to send a message that the victim’s life has been invaded and is now under intense surveillance. Such activities usually stop short of theft – which could lead to police reports. If items are stolen, they are typically limited to items that would be inexpensive and therefore unlikely objects of theft – so reports of the incident will seem implausible and evidence of mental instability.
In this short video clip, Luke Harding, a journalist with the Guardian, describes his personal experience with gas-lighting tactics being used against him by Russian intelligence agents while he was living in Moscow. I first saw this video on the “Gang Stalking is Murder” website.
Harding naturally found the experience unsettling, but keep in mind that he had the total support of his wife and his employer. Most victims of gang stalking are more isolated and if they attempt to describe the experience to others, are met with skepticism. The most likely reaction is to assume that the victim simply forgot where he placed something, or whether he left the window open, etc.
Abusive Phone Calls
As with adolescent pranks, phone calls to the victim’s residence are an easy way to harass the victim. Messages can range from insults to threats, although they are subtle, not explicit, in case the calls are being recorded.
Computer hacking is probably universal among victims of “disruption” operations. U.S. government agents, Law Enforcement Intelligence Units (LEIUs), and private security contractors use the tactic both to gather information and to perpetrate threats and other forms of harassment.
This tactic was apparently used, for example, against Larry Klayman, a public interest lawyer and conservative political activist, after he filed a lawsuit against the National Security Agency (NSA) to challenge that agency’s program of mass surveillance. According to Klayman, after he filed his lawsuit, his email account was hacked. Someone began sending emails from his account to other people he knew – a move which Klayman interpreted as being an effort by U.S. intelligence agents to intimidate him by letting him know he was being closely watched.
in December 2013 a federal judge ruled in favor of Klayman in his lawsuit against the NSA, finding that the agency’s collection of Americans’ phone records was apparently a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment. Ultimately though, an appellate court reversed that decision.
“Everything We Know About How the FBI Hacks People” was the title of an article published in May 2016 by WIRED. Here is part of what they had to say:
“…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.”
As with most of these gang stalking tactics, you can use your imagination regarding the countless ways someone can be framed. Planting evidence can be done either to further a slander campaign, or to actually set up the victim for arrest and prosecution. Additionally, planting evidence can be intentionally done in ways that the victim himself will easily find the evidence – just to send the threatening message that target is vulnerable to this type of attack.
For a recent high-profile example of a “stitch-up” by intelligence agencies, consider the case of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. WikiLeaks’ exposure of U.S. diplomatic cables in 2010 did not go over well with U.S. officials. The cables included some inconvenient information – such as corroboration of evidence that the U.S. had launched a missile strike in Yemen the year before that killed dozens of civilians – and that the U.S. conspired with Yemen’s government to conceal the fact that the U.S. was behind the attack.
To gain leverage for extraditing Assange from the U.K., he was made the target of apparently trumped-up charges in Sweden. Apologists and useful idiots for the governments of the U.S., U.K., and Sweden were publicly treating the charges against Assange as plausible and legitimate, but people familiar with how spy agencies operate immediately recognized the game that was being played.
A high-profile example of U.S. counterintelligence agents framing someone for political reasons was described in this June 2013 article in the New York Review of Books:
“A well-known example of COINTELPRO was the FBI’s planting in 1964 of false documents about William Albertson, a long-time Communist Party official, that persuaded the Communist Party that Albertson was an FBI informant. Amid major publicity, Albertson was expelled from the party, lost all his friends, and was fired from his job. Until his death in an automobile accident in 1972, he tried to prove that he was not a snitch, but the case was not resolved until 1989, when the FBI agreed to pay Albertson’s widow $170,000 to settle her lawsuit against the government.”
Other such threats are apparently common in gang stalking cases. They can take any form imaginable, but will inevitably be anonymous and difficult to prove. At one point, the gang stalking crew in my neighborhood began dropping life insurance pamphlets on the walkway inside my courtyard.
Another trick in the J. Edgar Hoover playbook is blackmail. A famous example was its use by the feds against Martin Luther King, Jr. Pages 220-221 of this U.S. Senate report show that the FBI apparently attempted to blackmail King, and encourage him to commit suicide.
Final Report – Book 2
Since gang stalking victims are normally under virtually constant surveillance, and since they are rarely in a position to afford counter-surveillance measures to capture evidence of the harassment being done, it’s easy to commit minor acts of vandalism against their premises and belongings. This can be dumping trash on the lawn, scratching the paint of their car, or whatever. Victims should not assume that perpetrators are above doing physical harm to their pets either; I know this both from personal experience and from accounts by a few individuals I have reasons to regard as very credible.
Baiting is any effort to evoke a response by the victim which can be used to discredit or legally ensnare him. In a sense, all gang stalking tactics are forms of baiting because their cumulative effect will eventually drive the victim to respond in ways that will create additional trouble.
Victims of gang stalking sometimes report that perpetrators mimic
their words and actions as a form of zersetzung (psychological degradation). This was reported for example in the Washington Post Magazine’s 2007 cover article on gang stalking. Novelist Gloria Naylor – a self-proclaimed victim of organized stalking – related that she had been harassed that way:
“On an airplane, fellow passengers mimicked her every movement — like mimes on a street.”
A general category of harassment, “street theater” can include some of the tactics described above and below, and simply refers to any sort of staged encounter with one or more perpetrators in public. Typically, both the comments and actions of the perpetrators are carefully scripted to resonate with the victim, but appear benign if captured on video or seen by witnesses.
Blocking/Cutting-Off/Invasion of Personal Space
One example of gang stalking “street theater” is to cut-off the victim – when he or she is walking, driving, or riding a bicycle. A related tactic is to crowd the victim by rudely invading his or her space or brushing against the person. Since this occasionally happens to everyone in the normal course of events, accounts by the victim will likely sound paranoid when described to others. Also, anyone nearby will be unlikely to notice – let alone understand that the action was deliberate.
This tactic was described – among other places – in some information posted in the late 1990s by a small group based in Canada called Spy & Counterspy – whose website indicated that they wanted to reveal tactics used by corrupt and repressive law enforcement agencies. This was part of the group’s self-description:
“We are located just across the border in Canada (nine miles outside the reach of the FBI, BATF, DEA, and other goon squads).”
The group – which claimed to have sources in the intelligence and law enforcement industry – reported that the FBI uses a tactic called “managed aggression” when they are trying to apply pressure to the subject of a surveillance operation.
This is their description of this psychological operations tactic:
Here is an example of how an FBI surveillance team will deliberately provoke you.
When you’re walking through a mall or a downtown shopping district, the surveillance team will intentionally interfere with your route. A pavement artist will “absent-mindedly” cross your path, forcing you to change course to avoid walking into him. A group of agents will “inadvertently” obstruct your path – they’ll be standing together chatting, forcing you to walk around them. Other pavement artists will “accidentally” create near-misses as you walk along. Some of these “pedestrians” will create situations with a potential for a head-on collision, forcing you to dodge them.
As the psychological pressure continues to build, agents may “innocently” bump into you, jostle you, or step on your heel from behind. A group of pavement artists will cue up ahead of you, creating a line-up that delays you as you try to make a purchase, order fast food, buy tickets, and so on.
Activity like this can quickly create frustration, even anger, in you. But because the incidents occur in public locations, it’s difficult to prove who’s behind them. You never see any agent more than once. You don’t know where the next provocation is going to come from. You’re beginning to get upset, irritated, unstable. You’re more likely to make mistakes in judgment. And that’s exactly what the surveillance team wants.
As the authors also mentioned, the tactic’s effectiveness is much greater when it is unexpected:
This is a wicked mind-game. It can be very effective if you’re not anticipating it.
Targets of gang stalking should expect this tactic and have a clear idea in mind of how they will respond. Here is a good response to this tactic – or for that matter, any type of street harassment by a “pavement artist.”
Put your cell phone to your ear as if you are on a phone call (if you don’t have a cell phone immediately accessible, just put your hand to your ear as if you were holding a cell phone – it doesn’t need to be convincing), look directly at the perp’s face and smile and say – very loudly:
“They sent a brown-noser! Can you hear me? Sorry, I have a bad cell phone connection – I’ll try to talk loudly. I said: They sent a brown-noser! Yeah, just some retard who will do anything he’s told. He doesn’t even know who he’s working for. Just some brown-noser! I said: he’s just some brown-noser!”
Keep smiling and looking at the perp and wink at him. Message delivered. 🙂
As described in some of the sections below, perpetrators of organized stalking sometimes make use of various cutting-edge technologies, but psychological torture does not require electronic hardware. Nor does it even require unconventional psychology.
A basic concept in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is that a particular stimulus – such as a sound or gesture – can become associated or “anchored” in the thoughts and reactions of an individual through repetition. Gang stalkers exploit this phenomenon by repeatedly performing a particular action – such as generating a particular sound as part of a noise harassment campaign.
Since the victim is made aware that the sound is an element of the harassment, his or her mind will naturally begin responding to that sound as a “trigger” for a negative emotional reaction. It’s a way to keep the victim constantly agitated because he or she will have the negative response whenever stalkers generate the sound – or even when the sound occurs in the normal course of events.
Similar to sensitization, “synchronizing” is when gang stalking perp’s always perform a particular action at the same moment as a particular action by the victim. For example, whenever the victim leaves his residence, a stalker in the area will cough or honk a horn or slam a door. It is a way of reminding the targeted individual that he or she is under constant surveillance.
One of the major weapons in the arsenal of gang stalkers is noise.
The tactic is ancient; it has been used in siege warfare for centuries. If you want to see a good dramatic portrayal of it, watch the final episode of Season 2 of Game of Thrones, in which a horn was sounded constantly to break-down a character (Theon) in the castle Winterfell, which was under siege.
It was widely reported that loud music was used by the U.S. military in its invasion of Panama in 1989 to harass General Manuel Noriega and flush him from the Vatican Embassy where he was holed-up. Accounts differ about exactly how and why the tactic was used in that instance, but no one questions the potential effectiveness of noise to create distress.
As with many of the tactics described here, the cumulative effects are difficult to fully appreciate if you haven’t personally been on the sharp end of them. Among other things, the tactic can be used to cause sleep deprivation, which in turn can create additional problems, both physical and psychological.
If gang stalkers have access to a residence adjacent to that of the victim (especially, for example, in an apartment building or condominium complex), they can easily generate noises that will be heard only by the target.
As is typical of psychological operations tactics used by FBI minions, harassment by noise is virtually impossible to prove. You could record the noise, but you could not prove where and when you made the recording – let alone where the sound came from or who was generating it. Moreover, even if you could prove all of that, it would be difficult or impossible to legally establish that the perpetrator was conspiring with anyone else to deliberately harass you.
High-Technology Noise Harassment: Hypersonic Sound
Hypersonic Sound Device
In an organized stalking operation, harassment by noise can be much more sophisticated than simply banging on the wall or playing loud music. Sound projection technology developed in 1990s can generate noise which can only be heard by the person being targeted.
This technology – called “hypersonic sound” – involves using a processor to convert a sound into a complex ultrasonic signal (that is, beyond the range of human hearing). Unlike sound from a conventional audio speaker, the sound travels in a column rather than spreading out, so its direction can be precisely controlled. You will only hear it if your ears are inline with the sound column – or if the signals is bounced off a hard surface.
If a victim of organized stalking tells others about sounds that he or she hears – but which no one else hears – it is a safe bet that the individual will be viewed as crazy. That makes this a perfect weapon for torturing someone psychologically because it can destroy the victim’s credibility along with his or her sanity.
In addition, the skeptical responses to the victim’s attempts to describe such harassment will almost certainly cause the victim to become intensely angry – which will further errode the victim’s mental health.
If you are a victim of this type of harassment, you might want to direct your friends and relatives to these two sources:
This document from a corporation that markets the technology has a clear explanation of how it works: Hypersonic Sound
At 20 minutes into this TV program which aired in 2009 is an interview with an engineer describing and demonstrating how such devices work. If the link becomes unavailable at some point, you can search for this program on which it aired: Jesse Ventura’s Conspiracy Theory, season #1, episode #4 (“Big Brother”). Roll your eyes at the source if you want, but everything about it is credible, and additional reading – as you will easily find out – only confirms it.
As explained in the “Tactics For Fighting Back” page of this website, noise-reducing headphones can provide some relief from noise harassment; however, the best response to such harassment (and to gang stalking generally) is a low-tech offensive strategy: blanket your neighborhood with flyers (either by mail or hand-delivery or both) and send emails to all local officials, news outlets, churches, schools, Congress members, etc. calling attention to this form of domestic terrorism (gang stalking).
Very High-Technology Noise Harassment: the “Voice of God Weapon”
The hypersonic technology described above should not be confused with an even more exotic psychological operations weapon that is sometimes called “Voice of God” or “Message from God.” Both technologies can cause a targeted individual to hear things which will be inaudible to others, but the Voice of God uses microwaves – which at certain frequencies can produce an auditory effect that sounds as if it is coming from within the person’s head.
Note: this technology is also often referred to as “V2K” – a shorthand version of the term “Voice to Skull.”
An excerpt from a Washington Post article published on January 14, 2007:
An academic paper written for the Air Force in the mid-1990s mentions the idea of a weapon that would use sound waves to send words into a person’s head. “The signal can be a ‘message from God’ that can warn the enemy of impending doom, or encourage the enemy to surrender,” the author concluded.
In 2002, the Air Force Research Laboratory patented precisely such a technology: using microwaves to send words into someone’s head. That work is frequently cited on mind-control Web sites. Rich Garcia, a spokesman for the research laboratory’s directed energy directorate, declined to discuss that patent or current or related research in the field, citing the lab’s policy not to comment on its microwave work.
In response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed for this article, the Air Force released unclassified documents surrounding that 2002 patent — records that note that the patent was based on human experimentation in October 1994 at the Air Force lab, where scientists were able to transmit phrases into the heads of human subjects, albeit with marginal intelligibility. Research appeared to continue at least through 2002. Where this work has gone since is unclear — the research laboratory, citing classification, refused to discuss it or release other materials.
Other High-Tech Gadgetry: Invisibility (Seriously)
Other exotic technologies are also used by the sociopaths in America’s rogue alphabet agencies (and their parasitic intelligence-security contractor firms). An interesting example was described in the well-researched cover article by Robert Guffey about “state-sponsored gang stalking” published in the October 2013 issue of Fortean Times.
In 1987 an American electronics engineer, Richard Schowengerdt, began experimenting with “electro-optical-camouflage.” In 1994 he patented this “cloaking” technology – also called “invisibility technology.” The Fortean Times article “Strange Tales of Homeland Security” describes how that technology was apparently used in a gang stalking operation by the U.S. government to psychologically torture a criminal suspect by enabling stalkers to lurk in the victim’s residence unseen.
Strange Tales of Homeland Security by Robert Guffey
The facts of that case suggest that the perpetrators were federal agents testing the technology – and presumably indulging their psychopathic tendencies.
Here is Robert Guffey’s interview with Schowengerdt – in which the inventor mentions the potential use of his technology for psychological warfare.
Of course, there is no reason to think that such technology is being widely used. I include the information here mainly because (a) it was apparently used in gang stalking by the U.S. government as documented in a well-researched published article, and (b) it gives you an idea of the level of technology available for surveillance and psychological warfare in state-sponsored gang stalking.
For anyone specifically interested in invisibility technology, here is another article – published in December 2013 – about a similar technology being developed in China.
Other High-Tech Gadgetry: Seeing Through Walls
A photo from February 10, 2010 Stars and Stripes
Caption for the above photo: “A soldier shows how a new scanner can see motion of an individual behind a wall. The device is set to be fielded in Afghanistan this year.”
Internal documents from the Cointelpro era proved that the FBI secretly used illegal “black bag jobs” (breaking into the residences of targeted individuals) to perform surveillance and to perpetrate psychological warfare – such as the tactic of “gas-lighting” described earlier.
Although the tactic is just as illegal now as it was then (invasive spying without a search warrant), it is apparently used routinely in gang stalking, based on virtually all victim accounts.
Consequently, it would be very easy to deploy miniature spy cameras (which are now very advanced and small and inexpensive) in the victim’s residence. So the use of technology which can see through walls is probably unnecessary in most cases, but the technology does exist.
A June 2005 article in Popular Mechanics by Frank Vizard stated that “through-the-wall” technology “has been aggressively researched by military and university labs since the mid-1990s.” The article is on page 30.
Click here to view a pdf file of the magazine:
This August 2012 article in Popular Science describes a form of this technology which uses Wi-Fi radio signals – which are now available in most U.S. homes. Reportedly, Wi-Fi radar can “determine a person’s location, speed, and direction – even through a one-foot-thick brick wall.”
Such technology could be perfect for gang stalking because, as the article notes, the device cannot be detected, since it does not emit any radio waves.
Other High-Tech Gadgetry: Directed-Energy Weapons (DEWs)
DARPA Laser Gun – from Business Insider, September 14, 2012
As I noted in the section about East Germany’s secret police, the Stasi used counterintelligence tactics remarkably similar to the tactics reported by victims of ongoing Cointelpro harassment in the U.S. Even the most exotic form of torture associated with organized stalking – the use of energy weapons – is an issue which appears in news reports about East Germany’s secret police. An article published by BBC News in May 1999, for example, describes allegations about the Stasi’s possible use of energy weapons against dissidents.
Claims about energy weapons being used against targeted individuals in the U.S. are difficult to prove – as one would expect, but there are a number of reasons the subject deserves serious consideration.
“For years, the U.S. military has explored a new kind of firepower that is instantaneous, precise and virtually inexhaustible: beams of electromagnetic energy. “Directed-energy” pulses can be throttled up or down depending on the situation, much like the phasers on “Star Trek” could be set to kill or merely stun….
The hallmark of all directed-energy weapons is that the target — whether a human or a mechanical object — has no chance to avoid the shot because it moves at the speed of light. At some frequencies, it can penetrate walls.”
A Directed-Energy Weapon (DEW) emits energy at a target without using a projectile, and can produce a variety of lethal or non-lethal effects. Such weapons have existed for decades, and are used by militaries and law enforcement agencies around the world. DEWs use various forms of energy, such as laser beams, electromagnetic radiation, and particle beams, as well as sound.
Weapons of this type are often referred to as “non-lethal weapons” to distinguish them from weapons such as knives, batons, firearms, artillery, and such; however, the intensity of some energy weapons can produce lethal effects.
Naturally, much of the information about these weapons is classified. One example of the publicly-available documents on the subject is the previously-mentioned declassified Pentagon report about electronic weapons (dated 1998) called “Bioeffects of Selected Non-Lethal Weapons” – which was obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request.
Here is the Defense Department’s website about non-lethal weapons.
Occasional references to the subject do appear in the news. An example is this May 17, 2013 article in the Marine Corps Times about the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate at Quantico, Virginia. The article explains that the directorate performs “research into everything from electroshock weapons to the Active Denial System, a directed energy weapon that causes painful sensations to targeted individuals without burning the skin.”
This September 2012 article in Business Insider – “America’s Scariest Weapons” – gives an idea of some of the electronics weapons being developed by the U.S. government, such as a “heat ray.”
If you are interested in an example of how someone could construct a homemade short-range electromagnetic weapon (for research purposes or for self-defense or whatever), this might be a good place to start.
You will need to be pretty resourceful working in your garage to keep pace with the feds though. In September 2013 it was reported that the U.S. Defense Department granted a $49 million contract to General Dynamics for developing directed energy weapons.
That is some of the non-disputed information about DEWs. The role of such weapons in U.S. domestic counterintelligence operations is in the realm of speculation and anecdotal evidence.
Many descriptions exist on the Internet which purport to be accounts by gang stalking victims claiming to have been attacked with such weapons. Accounts include descriptions of burning sensations, headaches, nausea, sudden fatigue, a fluttering sensation in the chest, etc.
My observations about DEWs and organized stalking:
(1) The extensive use of disinformation by gang stalkers raises problems when assessing the plausibility of claims about the use of DEWs against targeted individuals. To the extent that the use of DEWs is perceived by non-victims of gang stalking as being implausible, discussion of their use (whether accurate or not) could undermine efforts to expose gang stalking generally. Secondly, even if DEWs are rarely used, it could further the counterintelligence objectives to discuss them on the Internet, if only to raise the anxiety of victims, who might begin wondering whether their headaches, high-blood pressure, and other problems are being induced by DEWs.
(2) It is inherently difficult to distinguish between some of the effects of DEWs and the effects of psychological harassment (“psyops”) tactics. Stress induced by psychological torment can manifest in some of the same ways – accelerated heart rates and headaches, for example.
(3) The use of DEWs against gang stalking victims is technologically plausible. No one disputes the existence of such devices, and they’re consistent with the tactics of gang stalking. For example, harassment by noises generated from adjacent residences is a common gang stalking tactic, so it isn’t much of a stretch to imagine the use of energy weapons in the same situation, as the energy would easily pass through most walls.
(4) Such a tactic would be a logical choice for use in organized stalking, since it would be difficult or impossible to prove that such attacks were happening.
(5) Reportedly, the intensity and lethality of such weapons varies greatly, but even the most extreme applications would be consistent with the malevolent campaigns against gang stalking victims. Anyone willing to terrorize someone relentlessly with psychological torment – even knowing that it could lead to suicide or heart attack (or lethal violence by the victim against others in response), would presumably not have moral reservations about using DEWs.
(6) My own personal contacts with self-proclaimed targeted individuals include three cases in which persons whom I believe (for multiple reasons) to be highly credible reported having apparently been attacked by some form of non-lethal weapons.
Since the role of DEWs in organized stalking is surrounded by at least as much disinformation as any other area of the subject, it is difficult to know how widespread the use of such weapons could be – let alone how to defend against them. The technical issues involved in possible counter-measures are beyond my ken, but for what it is worth, a credible source – Wired – states in this May 2012 article that a Faraday cage blocks all electromagnetic radiation.
Other High-Tech Gadgetry: Brain Implants
This final “tactic” is in a separate category from all of those above because its use as a weapon of organized stalking is apparently fictional. I include it here because the subject appears in numerous online references to gang stalking – although most or all such websites are clearly pieces of deliberate disinformation.
Creating numerous websites which are purportedly authored by people who believe themselves to be controlled by chips implanted in their brains is an easy way to discredit reports of the more mundane – but still evil and illegal – tactics of America’s counterintelligence goon squads. Such disinformation strategies are extremely effective when most of the public is ignorant of basic counterintelligence methods.
The technology of implanted electronic devices to manipulate brain functions is very real. The neuroscience research was pioneered by Jose M.R. Delgado, a professor of physiology at Yale University.
As disinformation, the subject has traction both because brain implant technology has existed for decades and because the U.S. intelligence community has a well-documented history of secret unethical mind-control experiments on humans (MK Ultra).
Anyone wishing to learn about electronic brain implants should probably begin with this October 2005 article from Scientific American: “The Forgotten Era of Brain Chips.”
Even Higher-Tech Gadgetry: Smart Dust
I mention this only to give a sense of the kind of threats on the horizon – for everyone, not just for those unlucky enough to already be victims of America’s Stasi.
All the mental giants who advocate that U.S. intelligence agencies and their contractors – and the Pentagon and its contractors – should be granted unlimited power and secrecy and money should pause to consider the types of technologies that those people will be playing with in the future.
Here is a technology that is potentially a more sophisticated version of brain chip implants, and which at a minimum will enable Big Brother (and his network of friends) to perform all sorts of monitoring.
“Smart Dust” is a system of tiny wireless electromechanical systems which can function as sensors and perform certain tasks using radio-frequency identification.
A July 2013 article in MIT Technology Review: “How Smart Dust Could Spy on Your Brain”
Overt surveillance (harassment) by aircraft
News reports in recent years indicate that aircraft are increasingly being used by intelligence and law enforcement agencies to conduct surveillance of Americans – sometimes without the knowledge or consent of citizens, as in this program, run by the Baltimore Police Department, and this program operated by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), which was reported by The Associated Press (AP), and cited by CBS:
The FBI is operating a small air force with scores of low-flying planes across the U.S. carrying video and, at times, cellphone surveillance technology – all hidden behind fictitious companies that are fronts for the government, The Associated Press has learned.
The planes’ surveillance equipment is generally used without a judge’s approval, and the FBI said the flights are used for specific, ongoing investigations. The FBI said it uses front companies to protect the safety of the pilots and aircraft. It also shields the identity of the aircraft so that suspects on the ground don’t know they’re being watched by the FBI.
In addition to these news stories, though, are anecdotal accounts of overt surveillance by aircraft – small planes, helicopters, and drones – engaged in disruption operations (“organized stalking”).
First, it must be acknowledged that this form of harassment – as with most other tactics discussed here – is inherently implausible from the perspective of most persons outside of the intelligence-security industry. From the perspective of government and private security perpetrators though, that implausibility would render it a very attractive tactic. The reports must be evaluated in that context.
As of this writing, I am only aware of a few (published) references to this form of harassment, but, for what it is worth, I am familiar with several credible anecdotal incidents – described here in very general terms. These include my own first-hand experience, and second-hand accounts from persons I completely trust – for objective reasons. Readers will have to evaluate my own credibility, based upon the rest of what is posted on this site.
Urban police helicopters can hover at low altitudes and shine a bright light directly upon anyone who is outdoors. In the context of other harassment and spying, the target of such attention will recognize it as a threat. Small airplanes – circling at low altitudes – can also be used, for example, by their engine noise and visual presence, to intimidate individuals who are already aware that they are the targets of illegal surveillance and harassment. In brief, this is exactly what is apparently happening.
Sometimes, though rarely, this form of police state aggression spills into published accounts. One example is Robert Guffey’s very credible and detailed book, “CHAMELEO” (2015 OR Books), which is among the few published books on state-sanctioned disruption operations (“organized stalking”). In that book, a victim of such harassment describes – among other things – drone surveillance of his travels across the U.S.
More recently, a police blotter (in January 2017) documented a phone call from an apparent victim of organized stalking in northern California, which described being harassed by an aircraft – apparently operated by law enforcement or intelligence agency goons:
“7:24 p.m. – A driver on Interstate 80 near Truckee reported that an airplane is stalking him Sacramento to Truckee and became irate when he was asked for his phone number and name, stating that gang stalking is a felony over and over.”
A final note on the efficacy of gang stalking tactics
At the end of his aforementioned book Stopping a Stalker, retired police captain Robert L. Snow describes the psychological aftermath
Keep in mind: Snow is describing the impact of being stalked by a single individual with limited resources – not the long-term effects of being stalked by numerous perpetrators with seemingly unlimited resources, conspiring with each other across a criminal network which has the support of the government and uses refined psychological operations (“psyops”) tactics combined with high-tech surveillance.
“During my 30 years as a police officer I have dealt with thousands of crime victims, and have felt a deep compassion for the majority of these people, who have been robbed, raped, shot, swindled, beaten, and burglarized. Yet, by the time I saw these victims, the crime was over and the healing process had already begun.
With stalking victims, however, the crime wasn’t over with, but continued on and on. Victims of stalking say the experience is like a prolonged rape, a never-ending and terrifying loss of control over one’s life. Stalking is one of the most psychologically crippling things that can happen to a person. Being stalked takes away a person’s freedom, a person’s security, and often a person’s will to live.”
9. Mobbing and workplace violence
“Workplace Harassment” versus “Mobbing”
“Mobbing” is intense systematic harassment of an employee by multiple co-workers and managers. Presumably only a fraction of workplace harassment cases involve the kind of coordinated and severe emotional abuse that could be categorized as mobbing.
Mobbing is sometimes – but probably not always – an element of organized stalking. I would guess that only a fraction of cases of mobbing are part of the even more extreme phenomenon of organized stalking, which includes invasive illegal surveillance and sophisticated psychological operations tactics.
Depending on the circumstances, workplace mobbing – even when not accompanied by stalking outside the workplace – can involve serious psychological abuse. In some cases, the bullying leads to a violent response by the victim, as apparently happened in the cases described below.
The objective of mobbing is to emotionally torture a targeted employee – either to force him or her to quit, or for vengeance, or both.
News Reports on Mobbing
Articles occasionally appear in the mainstream press about mobbing. This August 2000 article from Newsweek/Daily Beast is an early example of reporting on what was already becoming an international trend.
The 2012 presentation in the video clip below is a fascinating 14-minute explanation of the dynamics of intense workplace bullying by psychopaths in the corporate world. The presenter, Clive Boddy, is an expert on the phenomenon. Boddy is a professor of Leadership and Organizational Behavior at Middlesex University in England.
Although the following video clip on the same subject is just four minutes long, it’s also worth a look.
Connections Between Mobbing and Organized Stalking
Although apparently accurate, the above video is exclusively about abusive behavior within an organization, such as a corporation. An abusive boss can make the workplace a hellish place for subordinates, but if the psychopathic boss also has connections to public law enforcement and private security personnel, the potential for abuse extends far beyond the range of common workplace harassment.
Opportunities for psychopaths in corporations to abuse the legal system and to abuse modern security technology in order to target individuals for personal reasons have greatly increased recently.
As explained elsewhere in this website, the U.S. law enforcement and intelligence community has worked to expand its powers and information sources by establishing closer ties with corporations – for example, through partnerships such as InfraGard and DSAC. Among the consequences is that it is theoretically now easier for at least some corporate managers to use procedures such as “threat assessment teams” to toss an employee into the legal meat-grinder – for example, by declaring him or her to be an apparent “insider threat.” This is especially true if the manager has established a personal relationship with local or federal law enforcement contact persons.
As described in the section of this webpage about the U.S. Department of Justice, America’s “post-constitutional” law enforcement paradigm’s emphasis on things such as surveillance, secrecy, watch-lists, “predictive policing,” and the aggressive investigation and prosecution of whistle-blowers all create an environment ripe for abuse by managers with personal vendettas.
Another problem for any individual who crosses someone with connections to America’s law enforcement and intelligence community is that the entire industry is long on enforcers and short on legitimate targets. Organized stalking – illegal counterintelligence subversion – dates back to at least the FBI’s Cointelpro era of the 1950s and ‘60s, but the size and power of America’s “homeland security” infrastructure was radically expanded after the September 2001 terrorist attacks, and now includes numerous government agencies and private contractors whose place at the federal budget pig trough needs to be justified. Any dissident, whistle-blower, or even marginally-suspicious individual who wanders into the cross-hairs of the police state these days is likely to be portrayed as a grave threat to national security by the bureaucrats and thugs who populate the security industry.
Compounding the threat to employees who are potential “targeted individuals” is the trend discussed previously in this website of corporations hiring private spies – many of whom are current or former government law enforcement and intelligence agents who often have contacts with their government counterparts. Here again is the best report I have seen on the topic: Spooky Business
America’s diminishing economic opportunities for middle and lower class workers could also be increasing the supply of people willing to serve as pawns and snitches in group harassment activities – whether orchestrated privately or by law enforcement agencies. It seems likely that financially desperate subordinates are more easily manipulated.
Advances in surveillance technology pose another threat to individuals targeted by corporations. Employers now often snoop on employees’ email communications, Internet activity, and Facebook pages for example. Also, any corporation willing to hire private investigators can easily spy on employees’ personal lives in various ways.
Finally, to whatever extent workplace mobbing leads to violence – as discussed below – there are potentially self-fulfilling and self-reinforcing dynamics at work. A violent outburst by the employee being harassed can be cited as confirmation that he was correctly singled out for investigation and surveillance, and the violent incident can also be cited – locally and nationally – as evidence for the need to increase the use of aggressive security measures.
A Federal Lawsuit about Mobbing and Gang Stalking
In December 2013 a federal contractor, Jeffrey Kantor, filed a lawsuit in Virginia against multiple U.S. agencies for secretly and illegally subjecting him to invasive surveillance, overt stalking, and intentional systematic infliction of severe emotional abuse – including by means of carefully orchestrated verbal abuse by his co-workers.
Kantor’s case appears to be a clear example of mobbing as part of a state-sanctioned organized stalking campaign against a targeted individual – in fact, the complaint filed refers to “gang stalking” as such. I posted a complete account of the case here.
Regardless of the ultimate outcome of Jeffrey Kantor’s legal claim, it is significant that a widely-reported lawsuit was filed against members of the U.S. intelligence community alleging precisely the same illegal counterintelligence psychological operations tactics reported by virtually all self-proclaimed victims of organized stalking.
News Reports on the Connection between Mobbing and Workplace Violence
Mainstream news reports and commentary on workplace violence – such as mass shootings – tends to follow a predictable template. The primary questions addressed are whether such incidents can be reduced by the following measures: (1) more restrictive gun control laws, (2) better mental health care policies, (3) more rigorous security protocols – such as background checks and metal detectors, and (4) a reduction in the amount of violence in popular culture, such as movies and video games.
When mass-shootings occur in schools and involve minors, the role of bullying as a causal factor is sometimes discussed, but for the most part, in cases of workplace violence, the subject is conspicuously absent from reporting and analysis. News agencies rarely give serious consideration to whether intense bullying by the shooter’s managers and co-workers contributed to the violence.
Even in cases of violence in schools, news media attention to the role of bullying is small relative to its importance. A 2011 survey of high school students found that teenagers who are the victims of bullying are up to 31 times more likely to bring weapons to school.
Such statistics give an idea of how deeply corrupt U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies must be to acquiesce in organized harassment of targeted individuals; those agencies have to be aware of the high potential for violence it creates.
That failure to discuss what is arguably the most obvious possible causal factor in workplace shootings is partly attributable to intellectually-lazy journalism, but it also involves ideological priorities. People wishing to see stricter firearms regulations enacted, for example, are inclined to view mass-shootings as opportunities for public discussion of those policies. Similarly, those whose agendas include increased surveillance and security systems will seek to use these incidents to bolster their case for a more muscular police state.
Another reason for ignoring the role of bullying in workplace violence incidents is presumably that the organizations involved – companies, schools, and government agencies where such incidents occur – have every incentive to downplay their own negligent tolerance of the bullying.
Reporting on workplace violence is probably self-censored to some extent, because the news agencies involved do not wish to raise the unpleasant issue of whether the victims of such shootings might have brought the violence upon themselves by their abusive behavior.
An exception to the lack of good reporting on this subject was published by the Huffington Post in August 2011. Anthropologist Janice Harper dared to ask the most important question about a mass shooting which had occurred a year earlier in Manchester, Connecticut. Omar Thornton, a delivery truck driver, fatally shot eight of his co-workers and then killed himself.
“Was Thornton bullied in the workplace, mobbed by management and co-workers to the point of mass murder? Given the savagery of his final acts, does it really matter if he was harassed, discriminated against, bullied or mobbed?
It does if it can prevent future acts of workplace vengeance. Last year, when Lt. Governor M. Jodi Rell asked, “In the wake of this tragedy, we are all left asking the same questions: How could someone do this? Why did they do this?” his question was treated almost as if it were rhetorical. Any serious effort to answer it was blasted away with a flippant hate-filled remark as if trying to understand what drives workers to kill somehow excuses the killing and trivializes the trauma the survivors will forever suffer.”
As Harper noted, the shooter, Omar Thornton, reportedly did not have a history of violence or mental illness.
Any intelligent person should be curious about why an otherwise non-violent individual would suddenly lash-out at others with lethal force. It turns out that Thornton had apparently been the target of intense harassment by his co-workers. There does not seem to be any reported evidence that the shooter was the target of organized stalking, but the case – like other similar cases – has implications for the issue of gang stalking. Among those implications is that cases of intense harassment of an individual by multiple perpetrators often fail to generate any serious inquiry – even when the process culminates in extreme violence.
Academic Reports on the Connection between Mobbing and Workplace Violence
Peer-reviewed studies by Dr. Kenneth Westhues, Professor Emeritus of Sociology, University of Waterloo, Canada, have found a link between mobbing (group bullying) and mass shootings in recent years in North America in workplaces and educational institutions.
As noted by Keith Labella at Gang Stalking is Murder, the link between mobbing and workplace violence “eluded authorities, university officials, and, obviously, the mainstream media.” Westhues estimates that at least a third of all rampage shootings can be attributed to mobbing.
“In nearly every mass shooting, Westhues found that a programmatic system of workplace or academic bullying had systematically isolated, scapegoated and humiliated the victim and virtually groomed the shooter for the role of monster. The role of psychiatry, police, and administrative bureaucracy as “threat assessment teams” and “safety prevention” was not only an utter failure, but, moreover, prompted the very acts of mass violence they sought to prevent.”
The following passage is from Professor Westhues’s report Mobbing and the Virginia Tech Massacre (November 2007).
“On April 16, 2007, Seung-Hui Cho, a fourth-year student in the English Department at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, murdered 32 professors and students and injured a further 25, then took his own life….
Cho appears to have been the target of an uncommon but distinct and devastating social process called workplace mobbing. It is the impassioned ganging up of managers and/or peers against a targeted worker, the object being the target’s absolute humiliation and elimination from respectable company.”
An example of a case which deserves a closer look
To cite one example (of many), a workplace shooting in Long Beach, California invites suspicion about the possible involvement of mobbing. Even if there are other explanations, this particular case is interesting for several reasons.
Incidentally, at the time of this shooting, I lived close to downtown Long Beach, and I witnessed some of the police and ambulance activity associated with the event. I became curious about the relative silence about it in the media.
On February 16, 2012, on the seventh floor of the Glenn M. Anderson Federal Building in downtown Long Beach, Ezequiel Garcia, an agent of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), shot his boss, Kevin Kozak, six times. Reportedly (see the article linked below for details), Mr. Garcia’s attack on his boss was in response to the fact that Mr. Kozak (who was the second-in-command of ICE’s Los Angeles region) had turned-down Garcia’s request for a transfer within the department.
Apparently, Garcia shot Kozak “following a discussion about Garcia’s job performance.” Another agent, Perry Woo, then rushed into the room and fatally shot Garcia. Kozak survived.
This workplace violence incident involved two government officers being shot – one fatally – in a federal building in the downtown area of a major city, yet barely registered as a blip on the media’s radar. Furthermore, both ICE and the FBI – which investigated the case – declined to provide any details about what happened.
After spending a year investigating the incident, the FBI determined that the fatal shooting of Garcia was justified. By the way, the FBI always finds that its shootings are justified. As the CBS article below notes, The FBI’s spokeswoman, Laura Eimiller, would only say that the details about what led to the incident “would be kept confidential because no criminal charges are planned.”
Apart from several paragraphs in the middle of the article linked below, most of the media did not seem to be curious about the incident – or about the silence of the government agencies involved. Apparently the matter did pique the interest of a few people other than myself though; the article cites concerns about the secrecy surrounding the event expressed by representatives of the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and the Open Government Project at the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC).
Maybe the ICE agent, Mr. Garcia, was just having a bad day. Perhaps someone cut him off in traffic on his way to work that morning and he was a bit wound-up about it, so he shot his boss six times during his job performance review.
On the other hand, maybe he snapped after a period of systematic harassment, and the feds did not want that made public. At a minimum, the case illustrates the secrecy which often surrounds the activities of America’s law enforcement agencies.
This is an article about the incident from CBS Los Angeles Local News.
Mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard – September 2013
This website would not be complete without mentioning this incident; news coverage of the shooting – and the public commentary about it – included speculation about the possibility that the shooter had been the target of a “gang stalking” /MK Ultra-type operation.
Here is what has been reported:
A shooting rampage at the Washington D.C. Navy Yard on September 16, 2013 left a dozen people killed (13 including the shooter), and 8 others wounded. Naturally, the shooting received extensive national news coverage.
The shooter, Aaron Alexis, had claimed to have been stalked by multiple perpetrators, and had reported that he was the victim of electronic harassment and noise harassment tactics of the sort often described by other individuals targeted in counterintelligence operations.
Alexis even carved “My ELF Weapon” into the receiver of his shotgun, as seen in this photo. ELF is a common abbreviation for “extremely low frequency.”
The incident involved other red flags for many observers. For example, while some people suggested the voices Alexis reported hearing were symptomatic of schizophrenia, others noted that schizophrenia typically begins in early adulthood, roughly between the ages of 15 and 25. Alexis, who was an information technology employee with a security clearance at a defense-related computer company, was 34 years old. Also, persons afflicted with schizophrenia are not typically violent; if anything, they are more likely to be a danger to themselves.
It should also be noted that Alexis never reported that he believed that the voices he heard were coming from some supernatural source – which would have been more suggestive of mental illness. His accounts were much more consistent with the kind of sonic projection device demonstrated here by an engineer who designs them. At 20 minutes and 8 seconds into this TV program which aired in 2009 is an interview with an engineer describing and demonstrating how such devices work. If the link becomes unavailable at some point, you can search for this program on which it aired: Jesse Ventura’s Conspiracy Theory, season #1, episode #4 (“Big Brother”). Roll your eyes at the source if you want, but everything about it is credible, and additional reading – as you will easily find out – only confirms it.
No manifesto was left by the shooter citing any political or religious agenda that might have motivated him to shoot twenty people at his workplace. His words and actions are more plausibly explained by his claim that he was in fact being systematically harassed, and he eventually snapped.
Other facts about the incident also drew suspicion. For example, the FBI bypassed the ATF (the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) and performed their own trace of the shotgun used – even though the ATF is the federal agency in charge of tracing guns used in crimes. An Associated Press article included this quote:
“I have never seen an instance where ATF had not been relied upon to trace the gun,” said Mike Bouchard, a former ATF assistant director for field operations. “I have never heard of a situation like that.”
Since the investigation of the shooting is being handled by the FBI – which is notoriously secretive and has a history of perpetrating organized stalking crimes against Americans (Cointelpro) – it is difficult to guess how much critical information about the case is being kept secret from the public.
It has not been reported, for example, whether some of the shooting victims had been intensely harassing (“mobbing”) the shooter – as was done to the plaintiff in the federal gang stalking case filed in December 2013.
Multiple news sources – such as the New York Times – made note of the curious timeline of events surrounding the shooting. The shooter’s employer and the Newport Rhode Island Police Department and the navy were all aware that Alexis had reported being harassed by “voices” and noises, yet no one suspended his security clearance or otherwise intervened.
Similarly – and this has never been explained as far as I know – a tactical response team of the Capitol Police was reportedly in the area at the time, but was ordered to stand down (not participate in the police response).
Here are some excerpts from a BBC News report on September 18 which described the non-response:
Multiple sources in the Capitol Police department have told the BBC that its highly trained and heavily armed four-man Containment and Emergency Response Team (Cert) was near the Navy Yard when the initial report of an active shooter came in about 8:20 local time.
According to a Capitol Police source, an officer with the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), Washington DC’s main municipal force, told the Capitol Cert officers they were the only police on the site equipped with long guns and requested their help stopping the gunman.
When the Capitol Police team radioed their superiors, they were told by a watch commander to leave the scene, the BBC was told.
The gunman, Aaron Alexis, was reported killed after 9:00.
A few days later, a Congressman confirmed that the local SWAT unit had been inexplicably ordered not to respond. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) told CNN’s Jake Tapper that he personally spoke with a SWAT team member who confirmed that they were told to stand down (not respond) to the mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard.
A week after the shooting, The Washington Times (in their Communities section) published an article exploring the gang stalking (electronic harassment) speculation surrounding the shooting.
A few days later, Wired magazine posted an article which also examined the gang stalking aspects of the navy yard shooting. Here are some excerpts:
Some conspiracists suggest that Alexis was a “targeted individual,” or “TI,” the term-of-art used by anguished people who believe they’re being “gang stalked” by shadowy enemies, often in the government. The elements of Alexis’ police report — covert microwave weapons, conspiracies and sleep disturbances — are common elements in gang stalking accounts. (Of course, they’re also common elements in schizophrenia.)….
The microwave weaponry theory would be just as absurd as some of the other conspiracies if the Pentagon hadn’t been researching the possibility of using similar voice-projection technology in the past as a nonlethal weapon.
According to one report on the project, such a weapon would create a condition similar to schizophrenia. “Application of the microwave hearing technology could facilitate a private message transmission. It may be useful to provide a disruptive condition to a person not aware of the technology. Not only might it be disruptive to the sense of hearing, it could be psychologically devastating if one suddenly heard ‘voices within one’s head.’”
The year before, Wired featured an article specifically about the so-called “Voice of God” device.
Nine days after the shooting, CNN reported that the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Washington field office, Valerie Parlave, was asked whether Aaron Alexis had “talked to or e-mailed anyone ahead of the attack” and she responded “No.”
A month later however, The New York Post reported that the shooter had sent three emails to the group called Freedom From Covert Harassment & Surveillance (FFCHS) – which is ostensibly a gang stalking victims support group – although, as explained in the web page about the organization in this website, is clearly a disinformation front group.
So the fed’s – who apparently monitor everyone’s phone calls, emails, and Internet activity – failed to intervene in any way despite the shooter’s emails (and despite other obvious warning flags mentioned above) in a case involving an employee with a security clearance who was working at military facilities and reporting that he was being harassed and hearing voices.
As The Post noted, this added to the list of questions about the official account of the whole incident:
“[The emails] also suggest that the bloody rampage was plotted as a revenge attack against the US Navy — contrary to FBI statements that the former sailor did not appear to have had a specific target.”
On November 20, 2013, The Washington Times reported that U.S. Rep. Darrell E. Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee is seeking information from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) about the security clearance possessed by Aaron Alexis:
“But Mr. Issa says OPM is refusing to turn over those documents and allowing them to be viewed only behind closed doors.”
In January 2014, Politico reported that a local NBC news journalist in Washington D.C., Scott MacFarlane, received an email which the U.S. Navy sent to him by accident.
The internal email – from the Navy’s FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) office – outlined the strategy which they planned to use to limit the amount of information released to MacFarlane, who had filed a FOIA request for internal Navy memos sent on the day of the shooting.
MacFarlane tweeted about the incident with this message:
“EPIC FAILURE- U.S. Navy accidentally sends reporter its strategy memo for dodging his FOIA request”
He included this screenshot of the email.
Click on image to enlarge
The most charitable analysis would be that this was simply routine “cover your ass” protocol for a government entity seeking to avoid embarrassing revelations about its incompetent management of security at a naval facility.
On 31 January 2014, 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.
“Speech and thoughts clear and focused…” was the description of the attending doctor.
The AP obtained Alexis’s medical records via a Freedom of Information Act request. Normally, the government does not disclose medical records, but the Veterans Affairs Department made an exception because of the public interest in the mass shooting.
As the New York Times reported (in the article cited previously), about six weeks before the shooting, Alexis was staying at a hotel and complained about being harassed by noise – a common psychological operations tactic. The harassment apparently was leaving him sleep-deprived, and he reported his insomnia to his VA doctors, as his records showed.
“An attending doctor provided additional details, saying Alexis suffered from fatigue after sleeping only two or three hours every night over the past three weeks.”
Alexis’s medical record – like the other facts of the case – are consistent with his account of having been intensely harassed.
What does not make sense is the official explanation – namely, that out of the blue, someone who appeared to be normal – and even was given a security clearance – suddenly went on a murderous rampage for no reason whatsoever.
U.S. Navy’s FOIA office nominated for “Golden Padlock Award”
In June 2014, Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) named the U.S. Navy’s FOIA office as one of the three winners of the 2014 Golden Padlock Award – which celebrates “the most secretive government agency or individual in the U.S.”
The nomination was made “for blocking access to records” about the Navy Yard shooting. As the IRE noted at that time, “…to this day, the Navy has still not responded to [NBC News reporter Scott MacFarlane’s numerous FOIA requests].”
FOIA request regarding Aaron Alexis’s interactions with FFCHS
Among the various FOIA requests filed regarding the navy yard shooting was a request filed in December 2013 seeking the FBI files “referencing the Freedom from Covert Harassment and Surveillance (FFCHS) organization in regards to the well publicized shooting investigation…”
As noted above, some of the reporting on the shooting noted that Alexis had sent three emails to FFCHS prior to the shooting.
The FBI rejected the request later that month, claiming that the information was exempt from disclosure requirements on the grounds that it was part of an investigative file. In January 2014, the person requesting the information filed an appeal, noting that the president of FFCHS, Derrick Robinson, had already revealed information about the matter by publishing an FFCHS newsletter in which he stated that he had been interviewed by two FBI agents concerning the case.
In September 2014, the Justice Department finally sent a letter denying the appeal. Language in the DOJ’s denial letter was of the boilerplate variety. The agency asserted that the information sought was exempt from disclosure requirements of FOIA because it fell under the category of “records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes the release of which could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings.”
The U.S. government’s position is that the mass shooting at the navy yard was simply a random act of insanity by a disturbed individual – as opposed to being the result of intense systematic harassment of the shooter, as the shooter himself clearly suggested. Since the shooter, Aaron Alexis, is dead, presumably the only potential “enforcement proceedings” would be civil litigation related to security issues, such as Alexis’s security clearance, and the management of security at the naval base.
At least one such lawsuit has been filed by the family of one of the shooting victims.
Several critical pieces of information will remain in the dark – at least for now. One is the FBI’s investigation – if any – regarding Alexis’s claims that he was the target of psyops harassment. A closely related question is whether Alexis was, in any sense, a “targeted individual.” Obviously, if he had been the subject of any kind of investigation and monitoring, that would have huge implications regarding his security clearance.
The DOJ’s denial letter only addresses that issue with a standard blanket statement that applies to all FOIA inquiries:
“To the extent that your request seeks access to records that would either confirm or deny an individual’s placement on any government watch list, the FBI properly refused to confirm or deny the existence of any records responsive to your request because the existence of such records is protected from disclosure pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(7)(E). FOIA Exemption 7(E) concerns records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes the release of which would disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions. This response should not be taken as an indication that records do or do not exist. Rather, this is the standard response made by the FBI.”
The other critical piece of information which remains a secret is the FBI’s investigation of Alexis’s communications with FFCHS. Some news reports about the shooting noted that Alexis had sent three emails to FFCHS prior to the shooting.
Just to review: FFCHS is ostensibly a gang stalking victims support group, although – as explained in the web page about the organization in this website – it is clearly a disinformation front group. It would be very interesting to read the description of FFCHS that appears in the FBI’s investigative files. No doubt, the DOJ would argue that such information also falls under one or more of the above FOIA exemptions. The only way to contest the claim would be to file a lawsuit.
Muckrock, which tracked the FOIA request, now lists its status as rejected.
Here is the DOJ’s denial letter: DOJ Denial of Appeal
Whatever led to the mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard in September 2013, one thing is clear: the U.S. Navy and the FBI do not want the public to know about it.
Theodore Kaczynski (“The Unabomber”)
A series of bombings was perpetrated from 1978 to 1995 which killed three people and injured 23 others. The bomber, a mathematician named Theodore Kaczynski, was referred to as “the Unabomber” by the FBI before they discovered his identity.
Kaczynski wrote a manifesto which explained that his motive for the bombings was to expose the threat to freedom posed by modern technology.
The court rejected Kaczynski’s request to represent himself at his trial, and made a plea agreement to avoid having Kaczynski possibly use his trial as a public platform to express his views. In return for a promise to not seek the death penalty, Kaczynski pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to life in prison.
Those facts are commonly known; what is less widely-known is that Kaczynski was one of the subjects of the CIA’s secret mind-control experiments program called “Project MKUltra” while he was a student at Harvard University.
An article by Alston Chase in the June 2000 issue of the Atlantic explored the question of whether Kaczynski’s violence was the result of his psychological torture. Kacyzinski was recruited to participate in a series of psychology experiments, and he was deceived about their true nature, which was to examine the effects of extreme emotional stress – possibly to help the CIA develop interrogation techniques.
The article implies that the experiment could possibly have been a factor in Kaczynski’s later acts of violence. Some excerpts from the article:
“There is no evidence of immediate mental degradation in the project’s aftermath. Emotional turmoil is another matter. As Sally Johnson, the forensic psychiatrist, reported, Kaczynski clearly began to experience emotional distress then, and began to develop his anti-technology views.”
“It is clear, also, that Murray’s experiment deeply affected at least some of its subjects. From interviews conducted after the project ended, it is apparent that certain students had found the experience searing.”
“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.”
10. Selection of targeted individuals
“To a hammer everything looks like a nail. To an intelligence
agent, informant, or law enforcement officer, everything
unconventional or unorthodox looks like at least a pre-
embryonic terrorist danger.”
– Bruce Fein, U.S. Deputy Attorney General,
In 2009 Bruce Fein advised Congress that the national intelligence-gathering system of regional data fusion centers should be abandoned. He compared the system to those operated by the Soviet Union’s KGB and East Germany’s Stasi.
Threat assessments by bureaucrats
Incompetence in the U.S. law enforcement and intelligence community creates threats to Americans in two ways. Real threats – such as the 9/11 terrorist attack and the Boston Marathon bombing – often go unrecognized. Meanwhile, people who pose no threat whatsoever are often destroyed – such as the actress Jean Seberg, whose “crime” was supporting the civil rights movement, for which she was stalked and terrorized by the FBI, ultimately leading to her suicide.
One obvious problem currently is that in America we now have a vast industry of government and corporate entities in the domestic spying business, but relatively few actual threats. Predictably, people feeding at the giant homeland security pig trough are eager to create the impression that their jobs and budgets are justified, which makes witch-hunts almost inevitable.
Adding to the problem created by such careerist motivations is the fact that people who pursue careers in the intelligence and law enforcement industry often have, as Bruce Fein observed, a distorted perception of the danger posed by people who are less conformist and less subservient to authority figures than they are.
Writing in Mother Jones in February 2014, Jon Schwarz made this point about the kind of people who make up much of the security infrastructure:
“Throughout history, the security state in every country has attracted employees who were already a bit squirrelly, and then encouraged their squirreliness to blossom in the dark….
….What these kinds of people share in common is that the pattern-recognition software in their head is badly calibrated and oversensitive. If they weren’t spies or intelligence “experts,” they’d spend their days proving Paul Is Dead or discovering the face of Jesus in tortillas.”
Blacklisting by threat assessment bureaucrats in the U.K.
Based upon the reported facts, I would not refer to the following case as “gang stalking” in the full sense of the term. The incident did not involve the intense and sophisticated psychological operations tactics commonly associated with organized stalking by corrupt law enforcement and intelligence agencies and their contractors. This case was however a well-documented example of social and professional isolation of a targeted individual who was blacklisted by government bureaucrats.
Articles published by the Guardian and BBC News in June 2009 reported that Jane Clift, a resident of the Borough of Slough in England had won a libel case against her borough’s council in which she claimed to have been falsely labelled as potentially violent after she complained about someone vandalizing a flower bed in a town park in 2005. The high court (trial court) awarded Ms. Clift £12,000 in libel damages.
Ms. Clift had written an angry letter to the council after becoming frustrated during a phone conversation with the council’s “anti-social behavior coordinator.” The council then placed Ms. Clift on its “violent persons register” and then emailed people in the community about the fact that she had been placed on the list.
An October 2010 article in the Daily Mail described her blacklisting ordeal as follows:
“Her details were circulated to an extraordinary range of public and private bodies, including doctors, dentists, opticians, libraries, contraceptive clinics, schools and nurseries. Their staff were advised not to see her alone.
The 43-year-old former care worker was forced to withdraw an application to become a foster parent and, eventually, to leave the town where she had lived for ten years.”
U.S. government’s terrorist watch list
I would confidently bet that the vast majority of Americans targeted by organized stalking would be unlikely to suspect that their personal circumstances might be connected – even remotely – to the subject of terrorism. Still, it is highly plausible that in many cases such a connection exists within the vast homeland security bureaucracy.
The U.S. government’s Terrorist Screening Database is shrouded in secrecy. The fact that names are routinely added and removed from the watch-list – which is officially known as the “Terrorist Screening Database” – combined with the secrecy which surrounds the list, make it difficult to know how many people it includes, but apparently the list has grown rapidly. An article in the New York Times in December 2013 reported that at least 700,000 people were on the watch-list, but an Associated Press report in July 2014 stated that official numbers revealed in a lawsuit showed that “more than 1.5 million [names were] added in the last five years.”
Some excerpts from the New York Times article:
“…the government refuses to confirm or deny whether someone is on the list, officially called the Terrorist Screening Database, or divulge the criteria used to make the decisions…”
“The Terrorist Screening Center, which administers the main terrorist watch list, declined to discuss its procedures, or to release current data about the number of people on various
watch lists, and how many of them are American citizens.”
A report released by the ACLU in March 2014 (pdf file linked below) about the terrorist watch list included a number of references which would resonate with anyone familiar with gang stalking. The report described a system which “blacklists” people “including American citizens” – “based on secret standards and evidence, without a meaningful process to challenge error and clear their names.”
This is how the ACLU describes their understanding of how people get placed on the feds’ watchlists: “We don’t know.”
The ACLU explained that the U.S. government “has refused to disclose the standards by which it places individuals on other watchlists, such as the No Fly list.”
Among the “devastating consequences” of the secret watchlist system cited in the report is the following:
“being placed on a U.S. government watchlist can….ruin employment prospects, and isolate an individual from friends
Here is the ACLU’s recommendation:
“Ultimately, Congress and the Obama administration must rein in what the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has called ‘a vast, multi-agency, counterterrorism bureaucracy that tracks hundreds of thousands of individuals’ – a bureaucracy that remains secret and unaccountable to the public or the individuals it targets for blacklisting.”
Multiple secret watch-lists
As with many elements of America’s complex security state, watch-lists exist in multiple jurisdictions and agencies and databases, and are maintained by both public and private organizations. In addition to the federal terrorist screening database and no-fly list, there is the secretive quasi-governmental database maintained by the Law Enforcement Intelligence Unit (LEIU) association, which is described in the “Red Squads” section of this overview. States also maintain files on their residents – such as Louisiana’s database of “comprehensive person profiles.”
One of Big Brother’s interesting lists was the subject of a July 2008 article in Salon. This is apparently the list that will be used by the feds to round up potential trouble-makers in the event that martial law is declared:
Dating back to the 1980s and known to government insiders as “Main Core,” the database reportedly collects and stores — without warrants or court orders — the names and detailed data of Americans considered to be threats to national security….
….Main Core in its current incarnation apparently contains a vast amount of personal data on Americans, including NSA intercepts of bank and credit card transactions and the results of surveillance efforts by the FBI, the CIA and other agencies. One former intelligence official described Main Core as “an emergency internal security database system” designed for use by the military in the event of a national catastrophe, a suspension of the Constitution or the imposition of martial law.
An article in Radar magazine in May, citing three unnamed former government officials, reported that “8 million Americans are now listed in Main Core as potentially suspect” and, in the event of a national emergency, “could be subject to everything from heightened surveillance and tracking to direct questioning and even detention.”
Here is the above-referenced May 2008 Radar article about the Main Core database: The Last Roundup
Getting your name removed from a watch-list
Avoiding the cliché “Kafkaesque” is nearly impossible when describing U.S. government watch-lists – or when describing organized stalking for that matter. The protagonist in Kafka’s novel “The Trial” was arrested by agents from an unidentified agency and tried without being told the nature of the charges against him.
Most of the policies governing how people are placed on federal watch-lists are secrets, and the government has an official policy of refusing to confirm or deny whether someone is on the government’s various lists.
The case of Rahinah Ibrahim is instructive. Dr. Ibrahim was placed on the federal no-fly list by mistake when an FBI agent mistakenly checked the wrong box on a form. She struggled for 9 years – including a 7-year legal battle – before a federal judge finally ruled (in February 2014) that her name should be removed from the government’s various watch-lists.
Ibrahim had to litigate most of her case without knowing the information in the U.S. government’s case against her. Even the judge’s findings in Ibrahim v. DHS are heavily redacted.
Quotas for reporting suspicious persons
A report by an ABC local news affiliate in Denver in July 2006 revealed that some federal air marshals said they have quotas for identifying a certain number of passengers as suspicious.
Air marshals interviewed for the article said that if they wish to receive positive performance evaluations, raises, bonuses, and special assignments, they must regularly file Surveillance Detection Reports (SDRs) – at least one per month according to some sources – about passengers who supposedly behaved in a suspicious manner. Individuals identified in such reports can end up in an international database watch list.
While it is unlikely that law enforcement and intelligence officials would publicly acknowledge the pressure on employees to name persons as being suspicious, it is easy to imagine how career pressures upon and within various agencies could create a sort of “witch hunt” culture to rationalize the budgets and jobs in the homeland security bureaucracy.
Black-listing by brown-nosers
In a September 2004 article in the Sociological Forum, David Cunningham and Barb Browning at Brandeis University analyzed the selection of individuals targeted by the FBI’s original COINTELPRO operations. The article begins with this quote from Frank Donner’s The Age of Surveillance:
“The selection of a target embodies a judgment of deviance from the dominant political culture.”
In essence, the authors found that FBI agents responded to organizational pressure from the upper echelon of the FBI by rationalizing the targeting of individuals for surveillance and subversion – even when those individuals were not engaged in subversive political activities. They did so by pointing to characteristics of the targets which the agents knew their senior officials regarded as culturally objectionable:
“…field agents drew upon particular culturally resonant signals of deviance to demonize and subsequently act against SDS members even in the absence of threatening political activity.”
Agents were trying to curry favor with a small group at the top of the agency – the directorate – who “made the final decisions about all counterintelligence actions.”
Targeting suspected potential future “terrorists”
According to some published mainstream news reports, individuals are sometimes targeted for gang stalking because they are suspected of involvement – or potential future involvement – in terrorism or crime, but are not implicated by any legal evidence. For example, see the May 31, 2006 article in the Canadian national newspaper, The Globe and Mail, regarding such tactics being illegally used in Canada.
Not surprisingly, people in the U.S. “homeland security” industry – whose money and power is tied to the perceived risk of terrorism – take a very expansive view of what constitutes a suspicious person.
In the case of federal contractor Jeffrey Kantor an innocent Google search apparently led to him being targeted for gang stalking by federal agents.
A 2011 Air Force training manual for teaching personnel how to identify individuals who should be reported to the Office of Special Investigations (OSI) – the Air Force intelligence agency – included the following examples (on page 43) of “extremist ideologies and movements”
“The colonists who sought to free themselves from British rule”
“Environmental activists who take action to fight against the exploitation of the environment and/or animals”
On page 45 of that manual is some helpful advice for recognizing the rhetoric of hate groups:
“Many extremists will talk of individual liberties, states’ rights, and how to make the world a better place”
If you happen to meet an American who believes in America’s independence from Great Britain, or opposes cruelty to animals, or believes in individual liberties, or – God forbid – wants “to make the world a better place,” be sure to report him or her to a U.S. law enforcement agency or intelligence agency immediately so he or she can be put on a secret government watch list.
Targeting to discredit & retaliate against whistle-blowers
Other mainstream news reports indicate that gang stalking is also used by intelligence agencies to punish or intimidate whistle-blowers – for example, as reported in the October 10, 2004 article in the Sunday Times, a major newspaper in the U.K., about the use of gang stalking by the intelligence agency MI5.
U.S. intelligence agencies are often accused of retaliating against whistle-blowers also. This 2007 report by the ACLU describes several cases in detail.
“…employees in national security agencies blow the whistle at their peril. They find no protection in the vast patchwork of laws designed to protect whistleblowers. Whistle-blowers often find themselves sidelined, without a security clearance, without a job, discredited, the victim of a smear campaign, investigated, labeled crazy, a bad team player, a liar, isolated.”
Targeting individuals for experimental or training purposes
Some unlucky individuals might be targeted essentially for counterintelligence psyops research or training purposes (even if they are ostensibly chosen for some more “legitimate” security reasons).
If you doubt that is plausible, read about the CIA’s MK Ultra experiments, in which many American (and Canadian) citizens were used as human guinea pigs.
Targeting individuals for extra-judicial punishment & experimentation
A well-researched article in the October 2013 issue of Fortean Times documented a case of state-sponsored gang stalking – described as such – in which a former U.S. military member was apparently targeted both for the purposes of extra-judicial punishment and to test psychological operations technology.
Targeting individuals by mistake
Sometimes individuals are targeted by America’s spy industry purely because of a bureaucrat’s incompetence. A perfect example of this was reported in September 2011 by the journalist John Cook. Here is his report of how a CIA analyst arranged to have a man kidnapped and tortured, although he was completely innocent. In some jobs, mistakes of that sort would be viewed unfavorably. Apparently, at the CIA they
are a bit more forgiving; the analyst was promoted.
Her name is Alfreda Frances Bikowsky and, according to independent reporters Ray Nowosielski and John Duffy, she is a CIA analyst who is partially responsible for intelligence lapses that led to 9/11……..
Bikowsky was also, according to Nowosielski and Duffy, instrumentally involved in one of the CIA’s most notorious fuck-ups—the kidnapping, drugging, sodomizing, and torture of Khalid El-Masri in 2003 (El-Masri turned out to be the wrong guy, and had nothing to do with terrorism). As the Associated Press’ Adam Goldman and Matt Apuzzo reported earlier this year, an analyst they described only by her middle name—”Frances”—pressed for El-Masri to be abducted even though some in the agency weren’t convinced he was the terrorist that Frances suspected he was. Instead of being punished or fired for the error, “Frances” was eventually promoted to running the Global Jihad Unit by then-CIA director Michael Hayden. According to Goldman and Apuzzo’s story, “Hayden told colleagues that he gave Frances a pass because he didn’t want to deter initiative within the counterterrorism ranks.”
Exploiting watch-lists for personal vendettas and corporate agendas
As you read accounts – whether published or informal – of organized stalking cases from the Cointelpro era in the U.S., from the Stasi era in East Germany, and of current gang stalking in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K., one of the most common factors seems to be the exploitation of such tactics for personal vengeance.
In recent years, there have been media reports of something called “swatting” – in which an anonymous person – either for revenge or for amusement – calls 911 and makes a false report of an emergency happening at the address of a neighbor or enemy (or in some cases a celebrity) so police will respond to the residence.
It is not difficult to imagine how a more sophisticated and sinister version of that tactic could be used by someone with connections to America’s now-massive and secretive homeland security infrastructure, by reporting someone as “suspicious.”
As it is now structured, the U.S. law enforcement and intelligence industry provides a perfect environment for abuse of power. The claim that America faces a constant indefinite threat of terrorism has created political cover for seemingly unlimited money and secrecy and power for the agencies and private firms involved.
Increasingly sophisticated surveillance and “non-lethal” weapons technology makes the potential for abuse even greater still.
In theory, organized stalking (counterintelligence subversion) could be used against someone by an individual or a corporation in one of several ways.
One possibility is that a person who has either a personal or professional connection to the law enforcement or intelligence industry could have someone named as a “suspicious person” – for example, by submitting his or her name to a Terrorism Liaison Officer (TLO). This might be easily done by a member of InfraGard (the corporate-FBI alliance) or someone with a friend or relative in an agency such as the FBI.
As explained elsewhere in this website, we know from hacked emails of intelligence-security firms and other sources that corporations hire current and former spooks and law enforcement agents to do their bidding, and that such work includes counterintelligence operations (disinformation, infiltration, etc.). It is certainly possible that such work also includes subversion (gang stalking).
One prominent case of gang stalking that apparently involved exploiting U.S. counterintelligence subversion for a personal vendetta is that of Gloria Naylor. A National Book Award-winning novelist, Ms. Naylor also wrote a semi-autobiographical book, 1996, about her experiences as a targeted individual of gang stalking.
An excerpt from Booklist’s review of 1996:
“In 1996 novelist Naylor moved to secluded St. Helena Island. A minor fracas with a crotchety neighbor, whose brother worked for the National Security Agency, set into motion a series of events that made Naylor the object of close scrutiny by the government.”
Another example – there are many, including my own experience – of organized stalking being used by corrupt members of local and federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies (and their friends) can be found at a blog called “Systematic Police Harassment – Pinellas County Florida.”
That website is an account by a divorce attorney in Florida of his gang stalking – which was apparently initiated in retaliation for angering a senior official of a local county sheriff’s office.
Similar cases – which were well-documented in published mainstream news media articles – include an incident in Stockton, California in 2011 in which the city manager was stalked by local police after a break-down in contract negotiations, and an incident in Florida in 2012 in which a police officer was stalked by other police officers after citing an off-duty cop for reckless driving.
Threat Assessment Teams & Personal Vendettas
Individuals become targets of surveillance states in a variety of ways. In the U.S., one of the mechanisms which could potentially lead to someone being targeted is a Threat Assessment Team – a concept promoted by the FBI.
A Threat Assessment Team (TAT) is a small group of designated staff members in an organization (public or private) which attempts to assess whether certain individuals in the organization pose a threat.
A description of TATs on the FBI website describes these groups as follows:
Like-minded, concerned professionals gathered together in person or via a teleconference can use the power of synergy to find dynamic solutions in a short time. Using TATs changes the dynamics in employee- or student-related threat situations from What do I do? to What do we do? These meetings allow the participants to share ideas, experiences, fears, and concerns in a problem-solving environment. TATs serve five primary functions.
- Information gathering: What does the team know about the threatener and the targets?
- Interviewing: What can TAT personnel learn from anyone personally or professionally connected to the perpetrator and victims?
- Evaluation: What does all of this information mean in terms of threats of violence to people and the organization?
- Decision making: What should the team do now and in the immediate future? Who will take the lead role in managing the subject’s behaviors or actions (e.g., human resources, law enforcement, security, campus police, EAP, mental health clinicians)?
- Follow-up: If the emotional temperature has cooled around this situation, how will the TAT continue to monitor the people and behaviors involved so that it does not reescalate?
Note that the FBI prefers that the group judging an individual’s potential for future crimes be “like-minded.” Naturally, you should avoid any diversity of viewpoints on the panel which is going to decide whether to label someone as suspicious. You don’t want to mess-up a good witch-hunt.
Tellingly, the FBI’s webpage makes no mention of the issue of workplace harassment and bullying. As noted previously in the section on “mobbing,” Dr. Kenneth Westhues, a sociologist, found that violent incidents in the workplace and in schools in North America are often a response to the individual being intensely harassed.
Workplace mobbing is a commonly-reported element of organized stalking (for example, in the claim filed against the U.S. government by Jeffrey Kantor in December 2013). Organized stalking – by all accounts – involves the tactics associated with counterintelligence subversion. The FBI is the primary agency in the U.S. responsible for domestic counterintelligence. Draw your own conclusions about the FBI’s silence on the issue.
Clearly, there is a potential for abuse of power by these Threat Assessment Teams. Although that is also an issue on which the FBI’s chooses to remain silent, a federal judge has found that the practice has already been abused.
A 2011 article about Threat Assessment Teams in USA Today included the following passages regarding the abuse of power by such groups at universities:
Critics say administrators may try to use threat assessment teams for their own purposes. In a case involving a student dismissed from Valdosta State University, a federal judge ruled that the former president improperly called for an investigation into the student’s mental health, employment and grades mostly because the student opposed plans to build a campus parking garage.
Students’ rights groups say administrators are infringing on students’ free-speech rights. ‘Putting innocent outbursts into a campus database is a chilling way to police discourse on campus,’ says Adam Kissel, vice president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. “In the name of security, behavioral intervention teams are encouraged to go far beyond what they need to do.”
Official rationale for counterintelligence subversion
Merely invoking the magic phrase “national security” seems to provide sufficient legal and political justification these days for almost any secret policy of the intelligence community. Even in the rare cases when the U.S. government’s “Star Chamber” – the secret FISA Court – rules that a policy is out of bounds, Americans are not permitted to know what the feds were trying to get away with.
As practiced, organized stalking is essentially an extra-judicial punishment, and it grossly violates multiple state and federal laws. However, the policy is presumably justified – at least unofficially – within the FBI and DOJ as being a legitimate counterintelligence policy needed to subvert individuals who would otherwise pose a threat.
As explained later in this overview (in the section on the U.S. Department of Justice), probably the closest thing to an official public statement of the philosophy behind targeting certain individuals was expressed in the policy statement of the now-defunct “Weed and Seed” program. That program’s description suggested a law enforcement strategy of identifying and removing undesirable citizens from neighborhoods through a “community-based” law enforcement approach.
Who gets to declare someone a suspicious person?
Consider just one part of the massive “homeland security” infrastructure – electronic surveillance by the NSA. In September 2013 it emerged that at least a dozen NSA employees had been illegally spying on their spouses and partners. This was a small glimpse of the potential abuses of power in the modern U.S. spy industry.
Note: The revelation of those incidents might be what propagandists and intelligence agencies sometimes refer to as a “limited hangout.” In other words, the abuses of power were real, but their revelation might well have been intended to distract from much more serious widespread transgressions – as explained here.
“The story overshadowed the more alarming story that 3,000 privacy violations had occurred over a one-year period.”
NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden explained that access to the U.S. police state’s weapons is not limited to high-level officials:
“Any analyst at any time can target anyone. Any selector, anywhere… I, sitting at my desk, certainly had the authorities to wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge, to even the President…”
The desire for a feeling of power: snitches in communist East Germany
Understanding the social dynamics of America’s current “homeland security” domestic spying programs does not require re-inventing the wheel. A great deal can be learned from the well-documented historical predecessor which most closely resembled it: East Germany’s Stasi.
In addition to thousands of professional spies, the Stasi (state police) had over 100,000 citizen informants. An informant for the Stasi was referred to as an IM (Inoffizielle Mitarbeiter) – an unofficial collaborator. All sectors of East German society had IMs who supplied information about their fellow citizens to the communist government.
One of the striking things that researchers found when examining the records of the Stasi in recent years is that although some of these informants were coerced into spying, most did not need to be pressured into it.
A November 2009 article in Der Spiegel examined the nature of this rodent-like element of society – which no doubt exists today in America.
“Friends informed voluntarily on friends and spouses even tattled on each other.”
Here is the description by the head of the department which now manages the Stasi files:
“More often than not, the Stasi did not need to apply pressure at all,” he says. “In fact, many often felt snubbed if their information was deemed to be of no interest.” The real motivation behind these acts of betrayal was much more humdrum than one might think. “People informed for personal gain, out of loyalty to the East German regime, or simply because they wanted to feel like they had some power.”
As the article notes, often the origin of the targeting of individuals was simply a trivial incident or a misunderstanding. In one case a man was turned-in for having a West German brand of pudding in his kitchen. The Stasi had him fired, and his family became destitute.
Additional thoughts on how individuals are targeted
For more of my analysis of how individuals are chosen as targets for gang stalking, see my May 28, 2013 entry in the “Gang Stalking News” section of this website, in which I explain my inferences from the fact that certain types of people are not chosen as gang stalking targets.
11. The organizational structure of
. gang stalking
“The system of espionage thus established, the country will swarm with informers, spies, delators [accusers], and all that odious reptiles tribe that bred in the sunshine of despotic power; that suck the blood of the unfortunate and creep into the bosom of sleeping innocence.”
– Congressman John Allen, during the debates
about the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798.
In the shadowy world of gang stalking, it is difficult for the targeted individual to know the exact nature of the organizational structure of his or her enemies. From the victim’s perspective – especially when the person first realizes that he or she is being systematically harassed, it is virtually impossible to know exactly who the enemies are and how they are conspiring with each other.
For many victims, their situation remains opaque because of the vast disinformation campaign they encounter when they attempt to ascertain what is happening via Internet research.
As I described in the introduction to this overview however, the basic nature of the crime – namely, that it is a government counter-intelligence program – is an unavoidable conclusion since the apparent scope of the activity would make it impossible for it to be undetected by America’s now-massive homeland security surveillance and information-sharing infrastructure.
Gang stalking’s organizational structure apparently involves a mixture of personnel. At the top are government officials and agents in federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies, who would need to at least passively acquiesce in the program, if not orchestrate it. Several levels of delegates below them would be needed to manage and perform various operations.
The FBI’s original version of Cointelpro also made use of local government and civilian minions. A Los Angeles Times account of one of the Cointelpro operations explained that “the bureau had enlisted a local police chief, letter carriers and a switchboard operator at Swathmore College to spy on campus and black activist groups in the Philadelphia area.”
Agents and criminals
Police and thieves in the street, oh yeah
Fighting the nation with their guns and ammunition
from the song “Police and Thieves” by Junior Murvin (1976)
also covered by The Clash (1977)
In a sense, everyone who participates in organized stalking – and officials who knowingly permit it – are criminals, insofar as stalking is a violation of federal law and of state laws in every state – as well as being a violation of several provisions of the U.S. Constitution.
For many people, the notion that law enforcement and intelligence agencies would be perpetrating crimes seems counter-intuitive. Remember though, U.S. intelligence agencies such as the CIA, routinely engage in criminal activity according to the government itself – as explained in an earlier section of this overview (“Crimes by U.S. Law Enforcement & Intelligence Agencies”). Also, law enforcement and intelligence agencies such as the FBI often authorize crimes by criminal informants.
Why would law enforcement and intelligence agencies incorporate outsiders such as criminal informants, private contractors, and citizens into their counterintelligence operations?
One reason is that outsourcing can create plausible deniability. If a government agency (or a corporation) contracts with a private firm – and then that firm employs criminal informants, former cops, and former agents to perform the dirty work – the crimes can be several steps removed from officials. Another reason is that structural complexity itself can be desirable if one is trying to conduct activities in a way that will be difficult for outsiders to understand.
“A Wilderness of Mirrors”
Another reason the U.S. intelligence and law enforcement community might countenance a system of counterintelligence which has overlapping public and private elements – might be to exploit a counterintelligence concept called “a wilderness of mirrors.”
The description –attributed to James J. Angleton, the CIA’s Chief of the Counterintelligence from 1954 until 1974 – comes from T.S. Eliot’s poem “Gerontion.”
In essence, the idea is to make it difficult to ascertain the structure and dynamics and agendas which are at work. Having a complex and opaque system of counterintelligence (CI) operations serves the interests of the perpetrators – as does further obfuscating the nature of the system by spreading disinformation – as explained in detail later in this overview.
Of course, another factor could simply be greed. As with the U.S. military-industrial complex, parasitic intelligence-security contractors all want a place at the pig trough whenever a government program creates opportunities. Also, the domestic spying industry provides a lucrative revolving-door career path for employees of law enforcement and intelligence agencies.
Opportunities for expansion of personal power could be just as significant a factor. For example, as government-corporate alliances such as InfraGard and DSAC are formed, participants in organized stalking can exploit the system for their own personal vendettas.
This is true in police agencies as well. A prime example was the previously-described incident in 2011 in which the city manager in Stockton, California was stalked by local police to punish him for not granting them a sufficiently generous contract.
Some CI operations are handled directly by the FBI and other intelligence agencies. Other CI activities are performed for the government by private intelligence-security firms under government contract. CI work is also done by such firms on behalf of large corporations. In some cases – for example, the infiltration and subversion of the Occupy Wall Street Movement – CI activities were performed by the FBI and by private firms.
Presumably, one major difference between the structure of the original Cointelpro operations and modern gang stalking is the huge number of private intelligence/security firm contractors with secret clearances now employed by “homeland security” programs and corporations.
The DOJ, FBI, & DHS
America has a vast, complex, interconnected workforce associated with law enforcement, intelligence, and national security operations. It includes everything from local volunteer neighborhood watch programs to the Pentagon. Components of that infrastructure include federal, state, and local government agencies, private contractors, criminal informants, hybrid quasi-governmental associations such as the previously-discussed Law Enforcement Intelligence Units (LEIUs), corporate-government intelligence-sharing partnerships such as InfraGard and DSAC, and volunteer organizations. The U.S. intelligence community alone consists of 16 agencies (17 counting the Office of the Director of National Intelligence – which oversees the other 16).
Adding to the complexity are overlapping jurisdictions, bureaucracy, “revolving-door” employment patterns, and coordination between different groups. Some examples of that coordination – both formal and informal – would be disturbing to many Americans. For example, there have been reports of connections between the CIA and local Law Enforcement Intelligence Units, as was described in the section of this overview about “red squads.”
The scale and complexity of America’s security industry – combined with its inherent secrecy – makes it difficult to speculate about the exact way various counterintelligence operations are perpetrated. Whatever particular operational structure(s) support COINTELPRO-type stalking in the U.S., it would unavoidably involve at least the passive approval of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
The three agencies work with each other on the collection and sharing of information – as in the case of this biometric-based database of criminal suspects.
The DOJ is the U.S. executive department responsible for law enforcement. As such, it would need to provide legal authorization for programs such as COINTELPRO.
“An internal affairs office at the Justice Department has found that, over the last decade, hundreds of federal prosecutors and other Justice employees violated rules, laws, or ethical standards governing their work.
The violations include instances in which attorneys who have a duty to uphold justice have, according to the internal affairs office, misled courts, withheld evidence that could have helped defendants, abused prosecutorial and investigative power, and violated constitutional rights.”
The FBI is both a federal criminal investigative agency and the nation’s primary counterintelligence agency. It was the FBI which secretly orchestrated the original version of COINTELPRO under FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover.
“Never hesitant about flexing its muscles to target dissenters and whistleblowers, the FBI….is more dangerous than ever.”
The DHS – which was created in response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks – is the department with primary responsibility for counter-terrorism programs, such as maintenance of the national network of data fusion centers used to share security information across all levels of government.
“Homeland Security is an illegal and unconstitutional force directed at the American people.”
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
“…CIA officials are professional, systematic liars; they lie constantly, by design, and with great skill, and have for many decades, as have intelligence officials in other agencies.”
Whatever your assessment of the possible nature and scope of illegal counterintelligence activities currently taking place in the U.S., it is impossible – given the agency’s history – to rule-out the possibility that current or former CIA agents are involved – directly or indirectly, formally or informally – in at least some cases of domestic psychological operations.
As with organized stalking generally, motivations might vary from counterintelligence subversion, to experimentation, to personal vengeance for individuals and corporations with connections.
I noted the following in the section on MK Ultra. Sorry for the redundancy, but it bears repeating.
The CIA’s official mission statement refers to spying on America’s “adversaries” – which generally refers to foreign adversaries. On the other hand, the mission statement also proclaims that the CIA “upholds the highest standards of conduct,” and yet the agency has a well-documented history of involvement with things like torture, assassinations, drug trafficking, orchestrating coups against democratically-elected governments, kidnapping families for dictators, arranging the capture of Nelson Mandela, illegal domestic spying, spying on Congress, and – in the case of Project MK Ultra – performing secret unethical mind-control experiments on Americans.
The agency’s crimes associated with MK Ultra will never be fully known, because CIA Director Richard Helms – by his own admission – ordered the destruction of the program’s records in 1973. Those kinds of practices continue today. The CIA is known to have destroyed videos of their agents’ use of torture in interrogations, and to have spied on the U.S. Senate while it was investigating the CIA’s use of torture.
As explained in the section on Red Squads, the CIA reportedly also has a role in the training of local Law Enforcement Intelligence Units (LEIUs). Accounts by self-proclaimed victims of organized stalking often include relatively sophisticated methods. The tactics and technology are consistent with the operational capabilities of the CIA, and consistent with the agency’s reputation for operating outside of legal and ethical boundaries.
Also worth considering is the fact that the CIA supports regimes which torture their citizens. In his book CIA Diary (1975), former CIA case officer Philip Agee wrote about the agency’s support of the brutal fascist military dictatorships in Latin America:
“Repression in Brazil even includes cases of the torture of children, before their parents’ eyes, in order to force the parents to give information.”
It does not strain the imagination to think that such an agency might have its slimy tentacles connected – in various plausibly deniable ways – to the organized stalking of targeted individuals.
The National Security Agency (NSA)
“The ultimate goal of the NSA is total population control.”
William Binney, a 36-year veteran of the NSA (he was a mathematician and code-breaker), has described that spy agency as having a “totalitarian mentality.” He has also said this about the NSA’s crimes against Americans: “I call people who are covering up NSA crimes traitors.”
As with the CIA, one can only speculate about the NSA’s possible involvement with organized stalking, but there are reasons to suspect that the agency is not entirely innocent. Although the NSA – unlike the CIA – specializes in signals intelligence rather than operations, revelations in 2013 by NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden showed that the NSA is aggressively involved in spying on its own citizens – and lying about it.
NSA Director Keith Alexander lied about the mass surveillance of Americans by the NSA – twice. He denied that the data was being collected, then after it was revealed, he claimed that the program had uncovered 54 terrorist plots. When challenged by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman, Patrick Leahy, he admitted that the number was an exaggeration. Later the President’s Review Board reported that the actual number of terrorist threats detected was zero.
Domestic spying is not new for the agency either. The U.S. Senate’s Church Committee investigations in the 1970s said this in its conclusions about the NSA’s activities:
“…the deliberate targeting of American citizens and the associated incidental interception of their communications demonstrates the need for a legislative charter that will define, limit, and control the signals intelligence activities of the National Security Agency.” (Church Committee Final Report – Book 3, page 764)
Another reason to think that some members of the NSA acquiesce in organized stalking is more specific. A semi-autobiographical book by Gloria Naylor – winner of the National Book Award for her novel The Women of Brewster Place – was published in 2005. In the book, Naylor described her experiences as a target of organized stalking. The book’s title, 1996, was the year Naylor realized that she was being stalked. (Presumably, it is also a reference to Orwell’s 1984.) Apparently, her harassment began after she had a dispute with a neighbor whose brother worked for the National Security Agency (NSA).
Here are some of Naylor’s comments in an interview on National Public Radio, January 23, 2006:
“I think I just ran into the wrong people at the wrong time, and like the book shows, what starts from a very innocent dispute with a neighbor cascades and cascades and cascades into a whole production.”
“…these cars began to surveil me. People began to follow me around, and it did, it was very disrupting to think that your privacy was being violated, and for no reason that I could come up with.”
Another reason to suspect that some members of the NSA must acquiesce in organized stalking – and this would apply to the other numerous intelligence agencies as well – is that it would be impossible for them to be unaware of the various electronic communications associated with it. This website you are reading, for example, receives several hundred visits every day. Gang stalking must be something of an open secret among much of the intelligence community.
Finally, another reason to suspect that NSA officials likely approve of gang stalking is that such operations are consistent with what is now known about the agency’s culture. When William Binney – the technical chief of the NSA who became a whistle-blower – testified before Germany’s parliament in July 2014, he said that the NSA seeks “total information control” over American citizens and has a “totalitarian mentality.”
Intelligence-Security Contractors (“Surveillance Role Players”)
I am unaware of any publicly available information about the exact origin or nature of the jobs for “Surveillance Role Players” which are listed on numerous defense/security contractor websites. Possibly the position was created as part of the massive increase in the “national security” infrastructure following the 9/11 attacks.
It is very possible that Surveillance Role Players (SRPs) fill a variety of roles. For example, one of those roles might be to simulate the role of terrorists and others in various security drills.
Another role might or might not be to perpetrate the counterintelligence stalking of targeted individuals. In the absence of reporting on either the nature of SRPs or the nature of counterintelligence stalking, it is at least worth considering that the two phenomena might be connected.
Certainly the collusion of corporations and federal agencies in the area of domestic intelligence activities is not new. The U.S. government has been colluding with big corporations to spy on Americans since the dawn of the Cold War, as this article in Wired notes, although the practice has greatly expanded.
“The government is increasingly using corporations to do its surveillance work, allowing it to get around restrictions that protect the privacy and civil liberties of Americans, according to
a report released….by the American Civil Liberties Union…”
Cointelpro Version 2.0 (gang stalking) apparently makes use of the large supply of Americans who possess security clearances – over 5.1 million people as of 2013– almost a third of whom work for private firms. Nearly one-third of the Americans with top secret clearances are private contractors rather than government employees.
Numerous online job listings by defense/intelligence contractors for SRPs seek applicants with active secret clearances and training in counterintelligence. Each listing indicates that the unspecified work involves human intelligence operations (as distinguished from signals intelligence) within the U.S. Some of the ads note that an element of the job is to “coordinate with local law enforcement.”
In at least some cases, the client for the Surveillance Role Player contractors is the Department of Defense. Often though, the job announcements do not indicate which U.S. government department or agency is the client. It seems likely that some of the contracts would be with the Department of Homeland Security.
I posted one of these ads in the introduction of this overview. Here is another example:
Click image to enlarge.
These ads could be evidence that federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies support outsourced organized stalking operations. Absent leaks by whistle-blowers, one can only speculate about that. Clearly though, SRPs would have the tactical skills, technological assets, funding, and law enforcement connections needed to perpetrate nationwide stalking operations involving counterintelligence methods.
SRPs would also have a powerful incentive to maintain secrecy about such operations. Members of the intelligence community – including contractors – are exempt from the Whistleblower Protection Act. So even if an intelligence-security contractor firm were to mistakenly hire someone who has moral integrity, that employee would still be reluctant to expose misconduct. Revealing secret practices – even practices which are legally dubious – would involve a high risk of serious legal trouble.
Another aspect of the SRP job which makes it a plausible explanation for how organized stalking is perpetrated is the fact that the position is relatively low on the food chain. If organized stalking is widespread – as anecdotal and media reports seem to suggest – the street-level work is certainly not being performed (in most cases) by FBI agents. Victims of organized stalking seem to be rather ordinary individuals who are not connected to criminal or terrorist organizations. In many cases, targets seem to have no idea how they came to be targeted. Some of them – perhaps most – might have simply crossed someone with connections to the law enforcement industry.
Such targeted persons do not have the resources and skills that would require serious “tradecraft” on the part of the perpetrators. Any brown-noser who can follow orders and keep a secret could perform this level of dirty work. Surveillance Role Players would seem to fit the bill.
Training the lowest-level perps
Most of the employment announcements I have seen for SRPs state that one element of the job is training others. That too is consistent with observable activities associated with organized stalking. Acts of harassment done for psychological operations purposes are often perpetrated by someone having only a single momentary interaction with the target. For example, someone unknown to the victim makes some particular comment or performs some act of rudeness, or simply glares at the victim. Such persons are probably ignorant of why the victim is supposedly even being targeted.
Perhaps SRPs orchestrate and delegate those minor acts of “no-touch torture” which collectively make up what the Stasi referred to as “zersetzung” – the process of systematically degrading the target’s morale.
Many Surveillance Role Player job ads – such as the one below – indicate that the work is part-time. That would make sense for this type of work for several reasons. For one thing, a part-time job would be easier to conceal from the public. Also, it is possible that harassing people full-time might be a bit demoralizing for all but the most purely sadistic CI agents. Some cops frequently behave as bullies, but few people could spend all 40 hours of their work week perpetrating acts of harassment.
Of course, an additional practical reason for restricting employees to part-time status is that it greatly reduces the obligation to provide benefits for them.
Note also that the job ad below states that one element of the work is to “coordinate with local law enforcement.” If SRPs are stalking people, they would inevitably need to sometimes coordinate their activities with police. Quite possibly, Law Enforcement Intelligence Units (LEIUs) could be involved in some ways. As explained in detail in the section of this website about “red squads,” LEIUs have a long history in the U.S. of functioning as political enforcement agencies.
If any readers of this website have any insights about the precise nature of these jobs (which seem never to be discussed in the mainstream news media), I welcome them. Obviously, it’s pure speculation from my perspective that they are possibly connected with organized stalking, but such a connection would neatly answer these three questions:
“What do surveillance role players do?”
“Who perpetrates organized stalking?”
“How do the stalkers maintain the secrecy of their operations?”
SRP job announcements do not indicate which U.S. government department or agency is the client. The most likely entity would be the Department of Homeland Security.
Gang stalking crosses multiple boundaries: geographical, jurisdictional, legal, and moral. My guess is that the participants are primarily motivated by the financial benefits, but also by the notion that they are part of a secret group which is essentially above the law, and which imposes what they see as a moral punishment on dissidents. They are America’s more cowardly and more secretive version of the Taliban.
The professional caliber of Surveillance Role Players
Players in this game are not exactly members of the premier league in the intelligence business. First, spying (espionage) is traditionally regarded within the intelligence community as a more prestigious occupation than counterintelligence work.
Secondly, for obvious reasons, domestic counterintelligence operations are less challenging than foreign counterintelligence operations. Even those who argue that counterintelligence work deserves to be taken more seriously, such as Roy Godson, acknowledge that distinction.
Some ads for SRPs list a college degree among the qualifications, but many – such as the one below – require only a high school diploma. This means that former enlisted military personnel with counterintelligence (CI) training can easily make some good money relative to their education level as SRPs – possibly by harassing and spying on their fellow citizens. That would be tempting for a certain type of person during any period, but especially in today’s relatively weak job market.
Finally, counterintelligence subversion which targets amateurs (non-intelligence professionals) who have very limited assets is by definition the easiest work of all. Unlike covert operations – which must be conducted without being detected by the targets – organized stalking involves overt harassment, so the level of “tradecraft” required is relatively primitive.
Being a gang stalking perp is several rungs down the ladder from being the protagonist in a John le Carré novel.
Another job announcement for a Surveillance Role Player – highlighting added:
Click on image to enlarge.
Goldilocks’ porridge temperature IQ
Sometimes it is better from an employer’s perspective to hire people who do not think too deeply about the business in which they are involved.
One of the mistakes made by the National Security Agency (NSA) that led to the scandalous revelations of its Big Brother spying programs in 2013 was that the agency permitted one of its contractor firms – Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. – to hire an employee who was exceptionally intelligent.
Edward Snowden was smart enough to not only understand the information technology aspect of the spy agency, but also to perceive how morally corrupt and unconstitutional the surveillance system was, and how to expose the whole slimy business to the public.
Corporations who employ Surveillance Role Players quite possibly seek to hire people smart enough to carry out orders, but not smart enough to consider the philosophical implications associated with a Stasi-type system of political enforcement.
This phenomenon is definitely at work in the law enforcement industry. One example is a federal lawsuit by a police department applicant in Connecticut. A man was denied the opportunity to apply for a job with the New London Police Department on the grounds that he was too intelligent. As a matter of policy, the police department only interviewed candidates who were just slightly above average in intelligence “on the theory that those who scored too high could get bored with police work and leave soon after undergoing costly training.”
In August 2000, a federal appeals court ruled that the policy was legitimate.
The moral character of security contractors
Admittedly, the possible participation of SRPs in counterintelligence stalking is purely speculative for now. On the other hand, there are well-documented cases of lawlessness and minimal oversight among military, security, and intelligence contractors, so one does not have to wonder about the plausibility of such involvement.
A perfect example of contractors with secret clearances performing dirty work for the federal government was a June 2014 report by Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times journalist James Risen. The article documented how the mercenary soldier corporation formerly known as Blackwater operated with legal impunity in Iraq.
Several weeks before an infamous incident in which Blackwater personnel killed 17 civilians in Baghdad in 2007, the U.S. State Department had begun investigating the corporation’s misconduct and lack of oversight. However, American Embassy officials pulled the plug on that investigation and ordered the investigators to immediately leave the country. That move followed a rather interesting exchange between a Blackwater official and an investigator:
… the inquiry was abandoned after Blackwater’s top manager there issued a threat: “that he could kill” the government’s chief investigator and “no one could or would do anything about it as we were in Iraq,” according to department reports.
The death threat – which was made by a former member of SEAL Team 6 – was witnessed by another investigator. Despite having the statements of the investigators – as well as a long list of other examples of serious misconduct by Blackwater employees, the State Department never even interviewed either of the investigators during its inquiry.
The attitude among Blackwater employees – whose corporation had a contract worth over $1 billion to protect American diplomats – was described by the lead investigator as follows:
“Blackwater contractors saw themselves as above the law,” he said, adding that the “hands off” management resulted in a situation in which “the contractors, instead of Department officials, are in command and in control.”
Although most of us can only speculate about a connection between Surveillance Role Players and Cointelpro stalking, Americans should at least be curious why their government is constantly hiring people with counterintelligence training and secret clearances for unspecified activities within the U.S.
Journalists especially ought to investigate this mystery – if only out of professional curiosity.
U.S. Military Counterintelligence Agents
Where do intelligence-security contractor firms find the aforementioned “surveillance role players?” Since the qualifications include counterintelligence training and secret clearances, the most obvious source of personnel would be former military counterintelligence agents. In fact, the job announcements – such as the one shown above – specifically state that applicants with military experience are “highly desired.” For someone who is a former military CI agent, domestic spying offers an opportunity for easy money and power.
The Military Counterintelligence Agencies
Each branch of the military has a component responsible for counterintelligence:
- U.S. Army Counterintelligence
- Office of Special Investigations (Air Force)
- Naval Criminal Investigative Service (Navy & Marine Corps)
Agents in each of the branches are federal law enforcement officers. They conduct the operations and investigations in their respective branches aimed at disrupting such crimes as espionage and sabotage, and they also handle other criminal matters.
This is the badge carried by Army Counterintelligence Special Agents:
CI stands for counterintelligence; it also stands for “cashing in.”
Imagine for a moment that you are a military intelligence agent who is either close to leaving the military or has recently left the military (or you are transitioning from full-time active duty status to that of a part-time active reservist). Now imagine you are told that you can work either full-time or part-time for an intelligence-security contractor and make good money for relatively easy work. (Harassing and spying on civilians in your own country is presumably a bit easier than working on counterintelligence operations in say, Afghanistan.)
Imagine further that you are the kind of person likely to be working in military counterintelligence to begin with – someone who can follow orders and keep a secret (and lie), and who does not question the morality of his or her work.
Keep in mind that the job proposal – working as a “surveillance role player” – offers the allure of participating in a secret program that operates outside the law – sort of a low-rent spy club.
The opportunity would be especially appealing to anyone whose marketable job skills are limited. A CI agent’s job training emphasizes things such as lying convincingly. That kind of skill set is not always in
big demand outside of fields such as used-car sales and politics.
Further imagine that – just like J. Edgar Hoover and his thugs – you subscribe to the kind of reactionary authoritarian political outlook that enables you to rationalize perpetrating various unconstitutional actions against your fellow citizens. Morally, you can live with what you do because you have an authority figure – your boss at the security-intelligence firm (and more generally, the military-intelligence industrial establishment) sanctioning your activities. In short, you’re a minion of a larger program run by people smarter and more powerful than you, and as such you are not inclined to question the morality of it all. (It would be “above your pay grade” to think independently about such matters.)
You can see why a job as a “surveillance role player” might be very attractive to such a person. If the individual is fundamentally a bully as well, he or she will have found the promised land.
Domestic spying on American civilians by the U.S. military
Not only do U.S. military CI agents sometimes cash-in on their experience by working as intelligence-security contractors after they leave the military, some of them do some spying on American civilians while they are still on active duty.
Most Americans probably assume that the targets of spying by the U.S. military are exclusively foreign enemies. That is not always the case. For example, one of the scandals which led to the U.S. Senate’s famous Church Committee investigations during the 1970s involved U.S. Army intelligence agents getting caught spying on anti-war protesters.
About a decade ago, news reports began to emerge about efforts by
the Defense Department to quietly loosen restrictions on its ability to conduct domestic spying. In June 2004, Newsweek reported the following:
“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.”
Allegations of political spying by military contractors have also been in the news in recent years. This lawsuit in Washington State for example, accused two civilian employees of the U.S. Army of spying on anti-war protesters. The case was dismissed in June 2014, but the plaintiffs are appealing the decision.
Larry Hildes, the lead attorney for the plaintiffs, had some interesting comments about the case, as reported in this write-up.
Hildes and [co-counsel] Hendricks say there are dossiers and PowerPoint presentations on some of the demonstrators that made the rounds at domestic terrorism conferences.
Some of the depositions of Army personnel, Hildes says, “are amazing.” One colonel, he says, said “of course we monitor the peace movement because they’re anti-military and might demonstrate against us.” Another, Hildes says, “was like something out of Dr. Strangelove. ‘There are no limits in intelligence-sharing to defend the homeland.’ He said that three times!”
Hildes says another Army official bragged about their effectiveness in disrupting the lives of PMR demonstrators to her bosses in the Pentagon—and that there was a PMR task force at McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey. “There’s no way they weren’t duplicating this model other places,” he says.
If Judge Leighton’s current ruling stands, Hildes says, “the Army can take any peace group, where any member of it has ever engaged in civil disobedience, which is probably most peace groups in the country, and spy on them as much as they want, gather personal information as much as they want, label them as terrorists as much as they want, and everything is okay. Nothing’s out of bounds. The ground where the First Amendment and Fourth Amendment coexist to protect dissent, if this ruling stands, will be gone.”
Here is a deposition from the case which is an interesting read. It appears that just being an anti-war activist was enough to get someone designated as a surveillance target – which also involved having security personnel gather information about the activist’s friends and relatives.
Gang stalking by active duty military intelligence agents
The cover article of the September 2013 issue (U.K. edition) of the magazine Fortean Times was called “Strange Tales of Homeland Security.” As the blurb on the cover made clear, the piece was about “State-Sponsored Gangstalking.” The author – Robert Guffey, a faculty member of the English department at California State University Long Beach – gave a detailed account of a gang stalking case which involved the U.S. military.
A marine had gone AWOL after stealing some sensitive military property – including night vision goggles and a laptop containing classfied information. Apparently the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) initiated an organized stalking campaign against the suspect and his associates as well as an investigation. Various psychological operations tactics were used, such as overt stalking, in addition to some far more exotic methods.
So there is at least one credible published report of intense gang stalking being used by a U.S. military counterintelligence agency against an American citizen. Possibly the operations were intended to serve as both a form of extra-judicial punishment and as experimentation.
Click here to download a copy of the article as a Word document. (The article is behind a subscription pay-wall at the Fortean Times website.)
Strange Tales of Homeland Security by Robert Guffey
Connections between U.S. military intelligence agencies and Law Enforcement Intelligence Units (LEIUs)
Most accounts of organized stalking include reports of sophisticated electronic surveillance, black bag operations, and exotic weapons. As noted in the previous section on LEIUs, former CIA analyst and expert on the history of spying in America, George O’Toole, offered an insight into how such tactics and equipment are acquired by police department intelligence units. Writing in 1979, O’Toole said this:
“U.S. Army Intelligence, which in the recent past has shown a disturbing propensity for spying on Americans, is more than a little chummy with the local cops in many cities. The Army trained several Baltimore intelligence-squad officers in techniques of electronic eavesdropping and surreptitious entry at its Fort Holabird spy school in Maryland. In return, the Baltimore cops passed along many of their intelligence reports to the army. In Chicago the Red Squad was in daily contact with the army’s 113th Military Intelligence Group during the late 1960s and early 1970s, passing along intelligence reports and receiving a variety of technical assistance.”
U.S. military intelligence agency databases about American civilians
In March 2014 the Washington Examiner reported that the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) maintains a huge database which tracks civilian law enforcement records – including even minor offenses such as parking tickets. At the time of the report, the database already contained over 500 million entries.
The article quotes Eugene Fidell, who teaches military law at Yale Law School, describing the military’s current policy as “domestic spying.”
“Clearly, it cannot be right that any part of the Navy is collecting traffic citation information,” Fidell said. “This sounds like something from a third-world country, where you have powerful military intelligence watching everybody.”
Criminal “Informants” (Street-Level Perps)
My comments on this subject are mostly speculative, but are based on first-hand experience as a target of illegal harassment by members of America’s security industry.
Criminal “informants” are the pawns in counterintelligence stalking. In a legitimate counterintelligence operation, an informant might have useful information and contacts – and therefore, be comparable to a more valuable chess piece, but in “gang stalking,” the perpetrators are expendable. Very likely, ex-convicts – over whom authorities have leverage – are used for some of the acts of overt stalking of counterintelligence targets. Potential pawns of this sort are never in short supply in America – a nation with one of the world’s highest per capita rates of incarceration.
Quite possibly, “informants” are the “students” referred to in the previously-discussed job descriptions for Surveillance Role Players (SRPs). The SRPs probably delegate much of the street-level harassment to rodents even lower on the food chain than themselves. This creates a perfect system of plausible deniability; the perpetrators seen by the target are unknown to the target, and the identities of the SRPs are unknown to the informants. Very likely, the security agent simply gives some cash to the perpetrator for executing some one-time act of harassment – such as making a comment which would be meaningless to anyone except the target, such as a reference to something learned by illegal surveillance. In other cases, the perpetrator might cut-off or bump the target in pedestrian traffic as a form of psychological warfare. Again, the contacts would be meaningless to outside observers, and virtually impossible to prove. Also – and this is critical: The street-level perpetrators have minimal credibility because of their backgrounds, so they pose little threat of exposing the operations.
Finally, this type of perpetrator is basically expendable from the perspective of the security agency (public or private) which uses him or her. If the “student” gets injured or killed, or captured, no one in a position of power will really care. If you want to get an idea of how America’s law enforcement industry views its informants, you should read this September 2012 New Yorker article about what local and federal police agencies did to 23-year-old Rachel Hoffman.
The fate of “informants” and other non-professionals recruited to participate in counterintelligence stalking cases – as distinguished from criminal investigation cases – is not easily ascertained because of the secrecy which surrounds such activity. Some of the published news reports cited on this website contain evidence that U.S. intelligence agencies might have orchestrated harassment campaigns in which informant perpetrators – and possibly others – were seriously injured or killed when the victims lashed out in response to the harassment. (For examples, see the news reports about the Washington Navy Yard shooting in 2013 cited in this webpage’s section on “Mobbing and Workplace Violence,” as well as the January 2014 stabbing in Manitoba, Canada, and the November 2014 shooting at Florida State University, cited in this webpage’s section about “Published News Reports.”)
Based on my own observations, and credible accounts shared with me by other self-proclaimed victims of government stalking, many low-level perpetrators are apparently rotated by the agents and contractors coordinating the harassment, so the target is not confronting the same individuals repeatedly. Even though a victim might be harassed daily, many of the stalkers only have a single instance of direct contact with the victim.
One of the implications of the apparently extensive use of multiple anonymous perpetrators for organized stalking is this: the corrupt members of public and private security organizations who orchestrate this form of crime apparently recognize the danger of using perpetrators who can be identified by the victim. Consequently, if you are a victim of this cowardly psychological terrorism, you should pay very close attention when perpetrators are used who are not anonymous. If someone whose identity is known to you has clearly been recruited to harass you (for example, if acts and comments by a neighbor, co-worker, landlord, local merchant, etc. are clearly intended to harass you), you should exploit that fact by making it very clear to that person – in a way that does not constitute an illegal threat – that you know he or she is perpetrating crimes against you. Even if that particular individual’s participation in the harassment discontinues, you should “stay in touch” with the person, and make clear (subtly) that you remember exactly what he or she did for the Stasi. An easy – and legal – way to do this is by anonymously mailing a flyer about this website to the person. You could even hand a copy of the flyer to him or her, and just mention that you saw it and thought it was interesting. Don’t elaborate or discuss it. You won’t need to.
That will create problems for both the pawns and their puppet-masters, neither of whom will be comfortable with spreading information about what they are doing.
Terrorism Liaison Officers (TLOs)
Since 2008, America’s “national security” personnel include “Terrorism Liaison Officers.” As explained on this website of a regional information-sharing network, TLOs are designated police officers, firefighters, paramedics, utility workers, and others trained to report “suspicious activity” to a national government database – the network of data fusion centers.
As the Denver Post reported, the “suspicious activity” could be simply taking photos or expressing “extremist beliefs.” One of the concerns about this policy was expressed by the director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, John Verdi:
“The problem is, you’re drafting individuals whose job isn’t law enforcement to spy on ordinary Americans and report their activities to the government.”
Be discrete if you are ever taking notes. Apparently, that is also one of the forms of “suspicious activity.”
Whether some TLOs might also be directly involved – officially or unofficially – in counterintelligence harassment, is impossible to say. It is not hard to imagine such involvement though for the kind of person who would volunteer to be the designated reporter of “suspicious” citizens to Big Brother.
Participation of local police officers in extra-judicial enforcement activities has a long and well-documented history in the U.S. As previously discussed, counterintelligence units within urban police departments – called “Red Squads” – date back to the 1800s.
Historically, many of the spying and subversion operations of Red Squads targets political dissidents rather than organized crime groups. Such activities by local police departments continues today – although the police squads are now more commonly referred to as “Law Enforcement Intelligence Units (LEIUs).”
Not surprisingly, large cities such as Los Angeles and New York have the most extensive intelligence operations, although even small police departments are increasingly involved in the “national security” infrastructure because of federal grants from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Money from the DHS creates a massive pig trough – excuse the pun – for local law enforcement agencies, and has greatly contributed to the militarization of police departments. DHS funding enables towns such as Keene, New Hampshire – population 23,000 – to purchase armored personnel carriers, for example.
Having police departments arm themselves with military weapons is disturbing, but the far more dangerous trend is the expansion of spying on citizens by local police, which is being encouraged at the federal level.
Local police departments participate in organized stalking of targeted individuals. In some cases they perpetrate stalking operations purely for local personal agendas – instead of as part of an unconstitutional, but ostensibly security-related program. The clearest example of this was the previously-mentioned 2011 case in Stockton, California, which was covered in local TV and newspaper reports. Cops stalked the city manager to punish him for not granting them a sufficiently generous compensation package.
That the local police officers resorted to creepy psychological operations tactics is significant; it did not happen randomly. The cops in Stockton were apparently familiar with psyops tactics, and they were used to getting away with such behavior.
Here is the TV news report about gang stalking by the Stockton police:
Sometimes the role of local police in gang stalking operations is to simply look the other way while others (federal agents or their private intelligence contractors) perpetrate their crimes. This was apparently the case when the feds were terrorizing Jacob Appelbaum and his girlfriend in June 2011.
Appelbaum is a prominent activist associated with WikiLeaks and with Tor (the anonymous web-browsing network). Not surprisingly, the U.S. intelligence community is not fond of him since he is in the business of exposing their crimes. After a botched home invasion of the residence of Appelbaum’s girlfriend by federal agents in Seattle (while she was at home), Appelbaum tried to file a police report about the crime. The cops initially refused to even take a report about the incident, let alone investigate it. After several attempts, Appelbaum was able to force them to take a report, but only after the ACLU got involved on his behalf.
Although I cannot prove it, I personally experienced several unmistakable instances of local uniformed police officers in California overtly stalking me. This occurred in multiple jurisdictions. I often receive reports of similar crimes by police from readers of this website. I can imagine that the ACLU must receive similar reports, although they refuse to publicly discuss the issue. It should be remembered that the ACLU – although extremely helpful on a range of civil rights issues – played no role in the exposure of the first version of Cointelpro.
Anyone who might be skeptical about the willingness of cops to perpetrate crimes against their fellow citizens as part of counterintelligence operations should read about the assassinations of black political organizers Fred Hampton and Mark Clark in 1969. As part of the FBI’s Cointelpro activities, 14 Chicago police officers raided the apartment in which the two men were sleeping, and shot them to death.
Furthermore, anyone who is skeptical that widespread gang stalking could occur without America’s vigilant news media calling attention to it – and the public becoming outraged – should also consider that those assassinations were barely noticed by the public.
For a complete explanation of counterintelligence crimes perpetrated by police officers, see the section earlier in this overview about Red squads (Law Enforcement Intelligence Units).
As noted above, firefighters sometimes participate in intelligence sharing as Terrorism Liaison Officers. Some accounts by victims of organized harassment (including one linked below which was reported on the ABC News TV program 20/20) suggest that firefighters also sometimes participate in the systematic harassment of targeted individuals.
In the case of police officers, I have first-hand knowledge that some participate in organized stalking. Moreover, you don’t need to take my word for it since I have included several published news reports on this website which make the same point. In the case of firefighters, the extent of their involvement is less clear, but several facts make it plausible that they sometimes function as gang stalking perps.
For one thing, a pilot program to have firefighters gather and share security intelligence was launched by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2006. Apparently, a complete national framework for “suspicious activity reporting” by first-responders has not been fully worked out, but some fire department officials have taken a great interest in the program.
If you have a traditional (non-police state) view of America, you might have difficulty wrapping your mind around the notion that firefighters, paramedics, and utility workers are spying upon – let alone stalking and harassing – their fellow Americans. For an example of the thinking behind using first-responders as spies – and an overview of the main elements of the national intelligence-gathering infrastructure – you can read the following document.
Below is a Naval Postgraduate School master’s thesis written in 2012 by Joshua M. Dennis, a Chicago Fire Department chief. In his thesis, Mr. Dennis seeks to clarify the role of the U.S. Fire Service in the intelligence community.
Incidentally, the Naval Postgraduate School is apparently something of a firefighter spy academy. If you perform a Google search for similar theses, you can find several.
Hat-tip to the blog Cryptoscatology for highlighting that document.
An example of the kind of suspicious things for which firefighters are supposed to be looking is given in the May 2010 issue of Homeland Security Affairs:
“Unusual documents for the occupancy type: especially maps, books, blueprints, literature…of critical infrastructures.”
So if firefighters visit your apartment building some day – for a periodic safety inspection, or in response to a false fire alarm – don’t be surprised if you notice them taking a keen interest in your reading material as they pass through.
Fire departments also participate – presumably both as providers and users of information – in the nation’s system of data fusion centers. A May 2014 article in the New York Times describes those fusion centers as follows:
The nation’s 78 fusion centers — which have received hundreds of millions of dollars from the Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies, as well as money from state governments — are run by state and local authorities…..Many centers….can involve dozens of officials from police and fire departments, federal agencies and private companies….[emphasis added]
Another indication of the law enforcement and surveillance role of fire departments in the new Big Brother version of America is that some fire departments apparently have subpoena powers. We know this because, for example, the Fire Department of New York used its subpoena powers to spy on the cell phone records of a whistle-blower in what appears to have been an effort at retaliation.
ABC News TV Report: Corrupt Firefighters Harassing Ohio Couple
This news report broadcast in May 2014 gives a clear example of firefighters participating in organized stalking. As in the previously-mentioned incident involving gang stalking by local police in Stockton, California in 2011, this Ohio case was done for personal vengeance.
In Hubbard, Ohio a couple was systematically tormented for 7 years in a harassment campaign orchestrated by the town’s fire chief. Apparently, he was angry at the couple because of a real estate dispute. He enlisted other firefighters, police officers, and local residents to terrorize the couple by having people drive by the victims’ home at all hours honking their horns.
The harassment – which the couple thoroughly documented on video – resulted in legal claims which were still pending at the time of the news reports. The couple’s website includes the official reports and overwhelmingly-convincing video evidence of their systematic harassment by corrupt firefighters and corrupt police officers.
This 2-minute video perfectly illustrates the relentless harassment:
Public image versus reality
A large gap often exists between the public’s perception and reality regarding first-responders (firefighters, police officers, and paramedics). Those professions contain their share of good people – and even heroes, but there is a significant bad element that tends to be underestimated.
When you consider reports such as the one above, and not-infrequent reports of corruption, nepotism, racism, brutality, and an often “tribal” culture among first-responders, you realize: allegations that such people perpetrate organized harassment – both the professional and vigilante varieties – are not at all far-fetched.
InfraGard & DSAC Members
As mentioned in the introduction of this overview, two corporate associations – InfraGard and DSAC – have partnerships with the FBI and Homeland Security to share intelligence. Apparently, certain trusted individuals in the participating corporations are granted special membership status by the FBI – complete with ID cards – and have privileged access to information and direct communication with the FBI.
As a practical matter, this very likely means that if one of these elite members of the business community decides to have someone targeted for an “investigation” they could simply tell the FBI that they have concerns that the individual represents what counterintelligence agents call “an insider threat” – meaning that an employee is suspected of being likely to steal proprietary information or that he or she is a “disgruntled employee” or has “extremist beliefs” and poses a safety or national security risk.
For a detailed explanation of this unholy alliance, I recommend reading this May 2013 report from the Center for Media and Democracy, which reported that certain corporations apparently exploited this partnership to use the FBI as a weapon against their political adversary, the Occupy Wall Street Movement.
In a 2009 TV program, Jesse Ventura, the former governor of Minnesota, interviewed Matthew Rothschild, senior editor of the Progressive about InfraGard. Ventura also confronted a member of InfraGard regarding the partnership’s obvious potential for abuse of power. The relevant section begins 25 minutes into this video clip.
If you suspect that your boss – or former boss – might have arranged to have you blacklisted, you should definitely watch this.
If the video becomes unavailable at the above link, and you want to search for it, this is the information: Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura, Episode #4, “Big Brother” – originally broadcast on December 23, 2009.
Threat Assessment Teams
As mentioned in the section above on selection of targeted individuals, a Threat Assessment Team (TAT) is a small group of designated staff members in an organization (public or private) which attempts to assess whether certain individuals in the organization pose a threat.
As the page about TATs in the FBI’s website makes clear, these groups are expected to work with law enforcement agencies to share their suspicions that an individual is likely to commit a crime in the future.
If the members of the TAT are also members of InfraGard or DSAC – or if they have an informal connection to a law enforcement or security agency, it would presumably not be unlikely that the suspicious individual would find his or her way onto a watch list of some sort.
Of course, it’s purely speculative how such a process might play out regarding organized stalking, but the U.S. law enforcement business is now so secretive that speculation is often the only option to try to understand it.
Department of Homeland Security Poster
Clearly the government also makes extensive use of citizen informants. An obvious example of this was the Department of Homeland Security’s public awareness campaign introduced in 2010 encouraging citizens to report anything suspicious: “If you see something, say something”
State and local governments have followed the feds’ lead (and used the feds’ money) to promote a “snitch” culture – such as this Florida program to encourage residents to spy on their neighbors.
Naturally, such programs could have a corrosive effect on the inclination of Americans to trust each other. That general level of trust ought to be a concern for everyone, since it has declined in recent decades. An Associated Press poll published in November 2013 found that the segment of America’s population which believes that “most people can be trusted” had fallen from half (in 1972) to one-third.
Public awareness programs designed to encourage people to become snitches are bad enough, but even more disturbing are secret programs in which citizens are paid to function as part-time spies to gather information on their fellow Americans.
Such programs date back to at least the COINTELPRO era. Chicago Daily News Columnist Mike Royko reported on one political activist targeted in Chicago in 1970 who obtained information (perhaps through a Freedom of Information Act request) from the FBI about her record. She discovered that she had been spied upon by the “Welcome Wagon” lady who had met her when she moved into a new neighborhood. (Welcome Wagon is a company which promotes local businesses. From the late 1920s until the late 1990s, they sent “hostesses” to visit new homeowners and give them gift baskets with samples and coupons.)
Incidentally, Mike Royko was also a target of government spying. He was apparently being followed by Chicago’s Law Enforcement Intelligence Unit (LEIU). Apparently, the FBI did not approve of Royko’s columns, which sometimes criticized the agency. Eventually, the FBI had an 86-page file on Mike Royko, who died in 1997 at age 64.
A Brigade of Snitches: The American Protective League
Most Americans are unaware of the U.S. government’s history of using its citizens to spy on each other. A prime example of this phenomenon was the American Protective League:
During World War I some 250,000 volunteers joined the units that made up the American Protective League (APL). This private organization, which had nearly 100,000 members in 600 cities by 1917, worked with the Justice Department’s Bureau of Investigation to identify war saboteurs and alien spies.
Wearing badges that looked official, the volunteers soon expanded their mission. They conducted surveillance, and harassed, intimidated and “arrested” people whose loyalty was questioned, perhaps because they refused to buy Liberty Bonds. The APL staged raids on factories, union halls, and private homes, and detained more than 40,000 people, including draft dodgers, for the War Department.
Boy Scout Merit Badges for Snitching
Volunteer members of the American Protective League (see above) were issued U.S. government ID cards. Another group of volunteer snitches who were issued government ID cards was described in a June 2013 blog entry on The New York Review of Books website:
“In the 1960s in Rochester, New York, the local police department launched Operation SAFE (Scout Awareness for Emergency). It involved twenty thousand boy scouts living in the vicinity of Rochester. They got identification cards marked with their thumb prints. On the cards were the telephone numbers of the local police and the FBI. The scouts participating in the program were given a list of suspicious activities that they were to report.”
Letter from an Anonymous Snitch
Just as the Stasi received intelligence from volunteer snitches in communist East Germany, so did the FBI during J. Edgar Hoover’s reign (and no doubt still do today). Here is an example of that kind of tip. The following letter is included in the FBI file obtained through a Freedom of Information request about Bella Abzug, a progressive activist who was a member of the House of Representatives during the mid-1970s.
The anonymous letter is from a college classmate of Abzug who identifies himself or herself as “Pro-F.B.I.” Apparently, he or she deemed Ms. Abzug to be insufficiently fascistic, and therefore someone on whom the agency should definitely spy.
Click on image to enlarge
Hat tip to Matt Stoller, who highlighted this document in his blog in March 2014.
Motivations for becoming a snitch
Based on my own observations and on speculation about what would be a logical (and in some cases necessary) use of resources for a counterintelligence operation, it seems that some of the people who participate – at least in small ways – in the stalking are civilians who are presumably told they are assisting in an investigation or a “neighborhood watch” type program.
No doubt such neighbors of the targeted individual would not think of themselves as “vigilantes” even though they are in fact participating in an illegal conspiracy designed to inflict extra-judicial punishment.
The motivations of a particular stalker are probably often unrelated to the reason the targeted individual was blacklisted in the first place. While the victim may have been targeted simply because he or she crossed someone with connections and money, the perpetrators – including the victim’s neighbors, associates, relatives, etc. – can simply be told various lies about the victim. Those lies can be tailored to fit the particular person or groups of persons being recruited to participate in the harassment.
New snitch programs
In September 2014, the Justice Department announced a new plan to root out all the potential terrorists in America by implementing a program of “community-led interventions.” If that sounds like it might lead to Stasi-type witch hunts, don’t worry; Attorney General Eric Holder assures us that this “innovative and aggressive” program will be guided by “democratic values.”
In January 2016, the FBI released 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. Here are some excerpts from an article about the program by AlterNet staff writer Sarah Lazare (also posted at truthdig):
“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.”
The Whole Stasi Gang
The full list of groups who either passively acquiesce or actively participate in “gang stalking” – for money or as volunteers – probably looks something like this:
1) Federal law enforcement & intelligence agencies
. (DOJ, FBI, DHS, CIA, NSA, etc.)
2) Intelligence-security contractors
. (including “Surveillance Role Players”)
3) Military counterintelligence agents
4) Criminal informants
5) InfraGard & DSAC members & Threat Assessment Team members
6) Terrorism Liaison Officers
7) Police officers
. (Law Enforcement Intelligence Units & patrol officers)
9) Private investigators
10) Neighbors, landlords, merchants, co-workers, and even relatives of the victim. In some cases, these persons are apparently recruited under the pretense that they are participating in an “investigation” or a neighborhood watch program.
11) Others informally recruited to assist – such as friends, relatives, and business associates of persons in one of the other categories
A person in category 10 or 11 is what East Germany’s Stasi agents referred to as an Inoffizielle Mitarbeiter – an unofficial collaborator.
Gang stalking perpetrators are an assortment of corrupt politicians, corrupt corporate executives, corrupt federal agents, corrupt cops, snitches, brown-nosers, bullies, liars, parasitic security contractors, sociopaths, psychopaths, traitors, and useful idiots. This is exactly what you would expect in a program refined by a communist secret police agency.
“It’s very common for the victims to understand a system
better than the people who are holding the stick.”
12. Social conformity & obedience to authority
“Blind belief in authority is the greatest enemy of truth.”
– Albert Einstein
People like to believe that the evil and stupid obedience displayed by people such as Hitler’s followers is far-removed from their own nature and culture. History and science suggest that is not the case.
Anyone wishing to understand gang stalking – or even to assess the plausibility of such a conspiracy – should briefly review the interesting (but disturbing) historical and scientific evidence on conformity and obedience.
History is filled with shocking manifestations of group-think – such as
the Salem, Massachusetts witch trials. Examples of blind deference to authority include attrocities such as the “Rape of Nanking” in the 1930s, in which Japanese soldiers, sanctioned by their leaders, raped, tortured, and murdered thousand of Chinese civilians. Many infants were killed in front of their mothers in that massacre; sometimes the soldiers gouged-out the children’s eyes before killing them.
Literature is similarly filled with helpful examples of the evil and idiocy associated with group-think and obedience. William Golding’s Lord of the Flies is one iconic example.
Psychology experiments show that it would be easy to recruit people to participate – as paid thugs or as vigilantes – in the organized harassment of targeted individuals. The social dynamics would be effective in a small workplace run by a psychopath manager, or on a large scale in an agency such as the FBI.
In fact, that was the conclusion of a previously-mentioned article in the September 2004 issue of the Sociological Forum. The authors found that agents in the original version of the FBI’s Cointelpro operations targeted individuals for surveillance and harassment even when those individuals were not engaged in subversive activities. The targeting was done to please the authority figures higher up in the agency’s food chain.
Two famous sets of experiments are of particular relevance here:
(1) Conformity experiments by social psychologist Solomon Asch
In Asch’s experiments, students were asked to participate – along with others – in what was ostensibly a “vision test.” Actually, the other participants were accomplices of the experimenter, and the study sought to find how the unsuspecting students would be influenced by the behavior of the others.
When asked to assess the relative lengths of lines displayed on cards, unsuspecting students were frequently influenced by the responses of the accomplices around them. In other words, people often changed their beliefs about what they had seen when the group expressed an opinion at variance with their own. In a control group, with no pressure to conform, few of the subjects gave incorrect answers. A majority (75 percent) of the subjects gave an incorrect answer to at least one question when surrounded by others expressing the wrong answer.
(2) Obedience to authority figures experiments by psychologist Stanley Milgram
In Milgram’s experiments, participants were led to believe that they were administering small electrical shocks to a person being tested, and that the voltage was being incrementally increased with each delivery of the shock. The experiment (and other similar subsequent experiments by others) found that most people (61 to 66 percent) will administer a fatal electrical shock to an innocent person purely out of deference to authority.
“The disappearance of a sense of responsibility
is the most far-reaching consequence of submission
to authority.” – Stanley Milgram
Anyone skeptical – despite such findings – about how easy it is to manipulate average citizens to do very bad things to people they don’t know should watch this video clip from an ABC TV program on the subject. The video features a private investigator-type person (not unlike the people who manage Cointelpro stalking operations presumably) portraying himself as a law enforcement officer, and easily persuading people to participate in serious crimes against strangers.
The fascist element of the U.S. intelligence community, law enforcement community, and military-industrial complex
As a former member of the U.S. military who also worked as a security contractor, I can say with some authority that many of the people in those professions have both integrity and intelligence.
Unfortunately though, such career fields – and I’m sure this applies to intelligence and law enforcement agencies such as the FBI and CIA as well – have more than their share of the type of folks described here by journalist Chris Hedges. Having spent a couple of decades as a war correspondent, he understands the mentality and character of authoritarian careerists.
Hedges’ observations apply not only to military officers, but also to the related professions of law enforcement and domestic spying as well.
“Most institutions have a propensity to promote mediocrities, those whose primary strengths are knowing where power lies, being subservient and obsequious to the centers of power and never letting morality get in the way of one’s career. The military is the worst in this respect. In the military, whether at the Paris Island boot camp or West Point, you are trained not to think but to obey. What amazes me about the military is how stupid and bovine its senior officers are. Those with brains and the willingness to use them seem to be pushed out long before they can rise to the senior-officer ranks. The many Army generals I met over the years not only lacked the most rudimentary creativity and independence of thought but nearly always saw the press, as well as an informed public, as impinging on their love of order, regimentation, unwavering obedience to authority and single-minded use of force to solve complex problems.”
Here is the full article at truthdig.
Authoritarian Personality Type
Participants in the FBI’s original COINTELPRO operations – and what is arguably their current form, “gang stalking” – have what psychologists sometimes refer to as an “authoritarian personality.”
Robert Altemeyer, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Manitoba, has studied this subject extensively. An October 2004 article in Reason describes his findings about the authoritarian type personality:
“….authoritarians are cognitively rigid, aggressive, and intolerant. They are characterized by steadfast conformity to group norms, submission to higher status individuals, and aggression toward out-groups and unconventional group members.”
The article notes that Altemeyer’s views were confirmed by research at the University of California at Berkeley, where they found that such people – who are typically very conservative politically – have common psychological factors described by the article’s author as follows:
“fear and aggression, dogmatism and intolerance of ambiguity, uncertainty avoidance, need for cognitive closure, and terror management that causes conservatives to shun and even punish outsiders and those who threaten the status of their cherished world views.”
Dr. Altemeyer wrote a book on this subject called The Authoritarians (2006). In his book, he makes clear that his references to “right-wing” authoritarian followers is a psychological – not ideological – category. Citizens in communist East Germany who served as informants for the Stasi (state police) were “authoritarians” just like far-right kooks in America today who participate in organized stalking. Because they are subservient to authority figures, such people are easily manipulated by those in power.
Professor Altemeyer generously made his book available to the public as a free pdf document: The Authoritarians
Authoritarian Tribalism Versus Respect for Legitimate Authority
A fundamental distinction deserves to be made here explicitly. The perspective of “authoritarian” perpetrators of organized stalking has nothing to do with respect for legitimate authority. Corrupt members of U.S. intelligence agencies, law enforcement agencies, and their security contractor associates are not motivated by concerns about public safety or national security – let alone respect for the law. They mostly value the paychecks they receive for “work” that involves minimal effort or risk. To the extent that they have any loyalty, it is not to their country, but to their fellow corrupt pigs. It probably is true that a fair number of the perpetrators do have right-wing political views which could be vaguely characterized as “authoritarian,” but it would be giving them too much intellectual credit to ascribe their bullying to some philosophical vision – even a fascistic un-American one. Perpetrators of COINTELPRO/MK Ultra-type harassment are just criminals with badges; they’re drunk with power and they serve their own interests.
Personality & Character Traits of Counterintelligence Stalkers
Authoritarian personality-type folks are exactly whom you would expect to find in the ranks of a counterintelligence agency (and its contractor firms). Based partly on inference and partly on first-hand observation, here are some of their key traits:
As Stanley Milgram’s experiment found, people who can be induced by authority figures to commit acts of unwarranted cruelty are as common as manure at a cattle ranch. People who seek employment in a counterintelligence agency such as the FBI or DHS (or one of their security contractor firms) are especially likely to fit this profile. The previously-mentioned Sociological Forum article regarding the original Cointelpro program seemed to confirm this.
A person would not necessarily have to be a coward to participate in the kind of harassment associated with the current version of Cointelpro (“gang stalking”); however, he or she would also not need to be courageous. A cowardly sociopath would be a perfect fit. The “work” is neither physically dangerous nor legally risky. Author Douglas Valentine perfectly described the type of person often drawn to U.S. intelligence agencies – namely, someone who is excited by the prospect of engaging in lawless behavior without the legal jeopardy that usually entails: “a sociopath without the guts to go it alone in the underworld.”
Counterintelligence agents such as “Surveillance Role Players” who perpetrate gang stalking are bullies, but they like to play close to mommy’s apron where it’s safe.
Having worked for years in the corporate security industry (often with current and former law enforcement officers), I can tell you that a lot of people in such professions have the imagination, sense of humor, deep thinking capacity, and empathy of a cinder block. Having such a personality is not a sin of course, but it has consequences. People who are unable or unwilling to question what they are told by higher ranking authority figures are dangerous when serving in a corrupt power structure. The difference between constitutionally legitimate law enforcement and being a thug is too subtle for some people to grasp.
“The connection between stupidity and cruelty is a close one.”
I don’t have much to add to Hitchens’ observation. The tactics of organized stalking are intended as psychological torture, and the perpetrators are often just as stupid as you would expect such people to be.
Deception can be an ethically legitimate element of a counterintelligence operation (or an undercover law enforcement operation); however, counterintelligence programs in the U.S. – in the past (Cointelpro), and currently (“gang stalking”), are frequently both immoral and illegal. The FBI’s campaign to destroy the actress Jean Seberg by slandering her (for supporting the black civil rights movement) was a case in point. A rogue agency’s classified internal memo that purports to sanction something that clearly violates the U.S. Constitution – and morality – does not make the activity legal. Lying as part of such an operation is just corruption. People who engage in such deception and get paid for it are just criminals.
Counterintelligence stalking does not require technically complex operations. America’s current version of Cointelpro mainly involves harassing individuals who lack the kind of resources and connections that would make them challenging or dangerous targets. Also, there are essentially no objective goals for security contractors who perform this kind of work; the firms which engage in this sleazy business are not expected to produce anything tangible. They receive their cash flow from the national security budget pig trough regardless of whether they do anything productive. Boondoggles are common in the military-industrial complex of course, but most contractors have to at least produce something, such as a tank or an airplane. Intelligence-security contractors sometimes only have to pretend that they are monitoring and countering actual threats.
Greed & Lust for Power
This is the core of organized stalking. Probably only the stupidest perpetrators of gang stalking are under any illusion that they are doing anything useful and legitimate; they’re just thugs for a government which opinion polls show is regarded as corrupt by most Americans. “Surveillance Role Players” and their bosses have security clearances, so perhaps some of them convince themselves that they are special, but they are not an elite group; in 2013, over 5.1 million Americans had security clearances. Gang stalking perps are among the many parasites feeding at the massive “homeland security” pig trough.
“Except for an extraordinary diligence in looking out
for his personal advancement, he had no motives at all.”
– Hannah Arendt on Adolf Eichmann (one of
the major organizers of the Holocaust)
In summary, the kind of people who participate in gang stalking are generally subservient, easily influenced by peer pressure, cowardly, stupid, sadistic, dishonest, lazy, and greedy. Apart from those traits though, they are probably fine people.
13. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)
. and gang stalking
The moral character of the DOJ
If a fish rots from the head, it is worth taking a close look at the U.S. Justice Department. Among other things, the DOJ – one of America’s 17 federal intelligence agencies – administers the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) – which the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) says “has a long history of abusing its national security surveillance powers.”
Whatever the range of public and private security-intelligence entities which sometimes engage in illegal counterintelligence surveillance and harassment activities (“disruption operations”), such abuses would, presumably, not be happening without the knowledge and approval – at least passive approval – of the DOJ.
In recent years, the DOJ has been justly criticized for its aggressive prosecution and intimidation of whistle-blowers and journalists who expose abuses of power by U.S. intelligence agencies. In 2012, for example, the Justice Department secretly seized two months of telephone records of reporters and editors of the Associated Press. James Goodale, a First Amendment lawyer who played a key role in the publication of the Pentagon Papers by The New York Times, made the case that the DOJ was essentially treating reporters as criminals.
As the ACLU points out though, such behavior is consistent with a long-established history. When Robert F. Kennedy was the U.S. Attorney General (i.e., head of the DOJ) in the 1960s, he authorized some of the original COINTELPRO operations, such as wiretaps on the home of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Corruption at the U.S. Department of Justice is a bipartisan phenomenon. In 1971, when civilian activists leaked secret FBI documents to the Washington Post which revealed crimes committed against Americans by the FBI during the COINTELPRO operations, U.S. Attorney General John Mitchell (who later served prison time for his role in the Watergate scandal) tried unsuccessfully to persuade the Post’s executive editor Ben Bradlee not to disclose the documents.
Assessing the plausibility of the claim that the DOJ countenances a modern version of COINTELPRO (“gang stalking”) requires looking at various examples of the moral character of the agency. Eric Holder, U.S. Attorney General from 2009 to 2015, is a good example of the kind of people who work at the DOJ, and – more generally – the kind of people who often infest the highest echelons of America’s power structures. The approval of unconstitutional secret counterintelligence operations would not be out of character for someone like Holder. When he was President Clinton’s Deputy Attorney General (1997 to 2001), he approved the pardon of Marc Rich – a wealthy investor who was indicted on 63 counts of tax evasion and other charges and fled to Switzerland to avoid prosecution. By all serious accounts, the only reason Clinton granted the pardon was that Rich’s wife was a big donor to the Democratic Party. Even the opinion writers for The Washington Post – an establishment newspaper which is generally sympathetic to the Democrats – said the pardon should have precluded Holder from becoming President Obama’s Attorney General. Richard Cohen wrote of the pardon:
“It suggests that Holder, whatever his other qualifications, could not say no to power. The Rich pardon request had power written all over it — the patronage of important Democratic fundraisers, for instance.”
Possibly the most interesting account of that whole scandal was this October 2016 article by CounterPunch editor Jeffrey St. Clair. Anyone wishing to know how wealthy criminals sometimes buy special treatment from the U.S. government should read it.
Sweeping the Dirt Under the Rug
Even the Justice Department’s own internal affairs office – the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) – reports that hundreds of federal prosecutors and other DOJ employees violated laws, rules, and ethical principles over the decade from 2002 through 2013.
More than 400 of the instances they cited involved serious transgressions: recklessness or intentional misconduct. These included things such as failure to provide exculpatory evidence information to defendants, violation of Constitutional rights, and abuse of investigative authority.
In its review of the DOJ’s findings, the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) made clear that the Justice Department also conceals some of its bad behavior from the public.
“As a general practice, the Justice Department does not make public the names of attorneys who acted improperly or the defendants whose cases were affected. The result: the Department, its lawyers, and the internal watchdog office itself are insulated from meaningful public scrutiny and accountability.”
The report from POGO also quoted from a January 1993 Washington Post article, in which a government auditor described the secretive and dysfunctional nature of the DOJ’s internal affairs office this way:
“The system they have in place could not be
better for sweeping things under the rug.”
Federal Judges Report Frequent Lying by DOJ Prosecutors
Most Americans give little thought to their nation’s Department of Justice, except perhaps for high-profile cases with partisan political implications. Evidence of the DOJ’s lack of integrity does not usually show up on the public’s radar.
Federal judges however, often see examples of the moral rot at the DOJ, and have warned for decades that frequent misconduct by prosecutors undermines Constitutional protections of individuals’ rights. A September 2010 article in USA Today reported on the effectiveness of a law enacted by Congress in 1997 intended to curb illegal conduct by prosecutors, such as lying and deliberately concealing evidence:
“…USA TODAY documented 201 criminal cases in the years that followed in which judges determined that Justice Department prosecutors — the nation’s most elite and powerful law enforcement officials — themselves violated laws or ethics rules.
In case after case during that time, judges blasted prosecutors for “flagrant” or “outrageous” misconduct. They caught some prosecutors hiding evidence, found others lying to judges and juries, and said others had broken plea bargains.”
Why would federal prosecutors engage in misconduct? Part of the explanation is that when they get caught, they are unlikely to be fired – as noted in another article by USA Today, which also found that “the Justice Department consistently conceals its own investigations of misconduct from the public.”
Lying by the FBI
Since the DOJ oversees the FBI, it is not surprising that the latter also takes a very elastic view of its obligation to abide by the U.S. Constitution. One way they do this is to assert, when caught lying, that the deception is being done in the name of “national security.”
When various American Islamic organizations and individuals filed a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request in 2006 to determine if the FBI had engaged in illegal surveillance of them, the FBI concealed the existence of much of the material requested. In a lawsuit which followed, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals found that the FBI lied to the plaintiffs and to the court about the existence of the documents sought.
When confronted with their deception, the FBI argued, in effect, that the agency should not be required to tell the truth in court if they feel that doing so could compromise national security interests. The court rejected that claim.
Anyone wondering about the plausibility of claims that federal law enforcement agencies acquiesce in gang stalking should consider the fact that such agencies sometimes explicitly assert that they are above the law.
DOJ’s Complicity in Spying and Lying by Private Intelligence Firms
Members of the Anonymous movement hacked into the emails of the cybersecurity firm HB Gary Federal In February 2011 after an executive at that firm boasted in the Financial Times that his company had infiltrated Anonymous and started to expose them.
One of the reports contained in the emails was a plan for HB Gary to work with several other security firms to destroy the whistle-blower organization WikiLeaks. News reports had indicated that Wikileaks was planning to publish documents showing possible corruption and fraud at Bank of America, so the bank funded a “counterespionage” campaign against Wikileaks, which included hiring the large intelligence contractor firm Booz Allen, whose staff includes many former top officials from the intelligence community and the defense department.
One of the proposals was to create and plant fake documents to discredit Wikileaks. The plans also included hacking into Wikileaks’ computer systems. Another proposal was to “attack” and “disrupt” the career of journalist Glenn Greenwald to pressure him into abandoning his public support of Wikileaks.
Bank of America had hired the law firm Hunton & Williams – among the most well-connected law firms in the nation’s capital – to coordinate the bank’s war against Wikileaks at the recommendation of the DOJ.
Glenn Greenwald explained the serious implications of this network of government and corporate players in the private espionage business in a February 2011 article for Salon.com:
“What is set forth in these proposals for Bank of America quite possibly constitutes serious crimes. Manufacturing and submitting fake documents with the intent they be published likely constitutes forgery and fraud. Threatening the careers of journalists and activists in order to force them to be silent is possibly extortion and, depending on the specific means to be used, constitutes other crimes as well. Attacking WikiLeaks’ computer infrastructure in an attempt to compromise their sources undoubtedly violates numerous cyber laws.
Yet these firms had no compunction about proposing such measures to Bank of America and Hunton & Williams, and even writing them down. What accounts for that brazen disregard of risk? In this world, law does not exist as a constraint. It’s impossible to imagine the DOJ ever, ever prosecuting a huge entity like Bank of America for doing something like waging war against WikiLeaks and its supporters. These massive corporations and the firms that serve them have no fear of law or government because they control each.”
As Greenwald notes, a clear example of the extent to which the DOJ serves corporate interests rather than the interests of justice and the American public is the department’s very different reactions to the cyber attacks on corporations versus an attack on Wikileaks:
“After Anonymous imposed some very minimal cyber disruptions on Paypal, Master Card and Amazon, the DOJ flamboyantly vowed to arrest the culprits, and several individuals were just arrested as part of those attacks. But weeks earlier, a far more damaging and serious cyber-attack was launched at WikiLeaks, knocking them offline. Those attacks were sophisticated and dangerous. Whoever did that was quite likely part of either a government agency or a large private entity acting at its behest. Yet the DOJ has never announced any investigation into those attacks or vowed to apprehend the culprits, and it’s impossible to imagine that ever happening.
Why? Because crimes carried out that serve the Government’s agenda and target its opponents are permitted and even encouraged; cyber-attacks are “crimes” only when undertaken by those whom the Government dislikes, but are perfectly permissible when the Government itself or those with a sympathetic agenda unleash them.”
A November 2013 news report from Democracy Now! also asserted that private intelligence-security contractor firms are pretty much free to perpetrate crimes on behalf of their corporate clients without fear of legal punishment. A report by Gary Ruskin, director of the Center for Corporate Policy, a project of Essential Information, was the main subject of the segment.
“…these corporations employ former CIA, National Security Agency and FBI agents to engage in private surveillance work, which is often illegal in nature but rarely — if ever — prosecuted.”
– Journalist Amy Goodman
The report explained that major U.S. corporations use spies to conduct surveillance (sometimes illegally) of non-profit organizations engaged in advocacy for causes such as anti-war policy, consumer rights, environmentalism, animal rights, and arms control.
Corporations engaging in this kind of espionage reportedly include Wal-Mart, Monsanto, Bank of America, Dow Chemical, Kraft, Coca-Cola, Chevron, Burger King, McDonald’s, Shell, BP, and others – as well as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
America’s Post-Constitutional Law Enforcement Paradigm
A confluence of developments over the past couple of decades has led to a more militarized and secretive form of law enforcement in America. A counterintelligence subversion strategy of organized stalking is among the most extreme manifestations of the new paradigm.
The government’s natural tendency to expand its size and power has been accelerated by the politics, profits, and career opportunities associated with the “War on Drugs” and the “War on Terrorism.” At the same time, advances in technology have made possible highly invasive surveillance tools which create a constant temptation for abuse by people in the intelligence, law enforcement, and security industries.
Another development has been an erosion of traditional jurisdictional boundaries in law enforcement. By design, numerous federal and local law enforcement and intelligence agencies now work more closely with each other, and with the private contractors who provide much of the infrastructure, such as defense industry firms and private security firms.
U.S. law enforcement agencies rely heavily upon criminal informants – despite the obvious conflicts of interest that involves. Budgets and audits cited in the New York Times for example, showed that the FBI was using more than 15,000 secret informants in 2008, and the DEA (Drug Enforcement Adminstration) had about 4,000 criminal informants on its payroll in 2005.
By my own observations, and by anecdotal reports of others, gang stalking apparently makes extensive use of criminal informants. But those snitches are not being used by the FBI just to spy and inform; they are perpetrating acts of criminal harassment for the purposes of counterintelligence subversion.
Rather than working to ensure the protection of Americans’ rights in this new Big Brother surveillance environment, the U.S. Department of Justice has done everything possible to enable the executive branch to increase its secrecy and power at the expense of Americans’ civil liberties.
A variety of Orwellian legal weapons have emerged – always based on claims of national security. “Suspicious Activity Reports” are now filed by “Terrorism Liaison Officers” and sent to a network of regional “Data Fusion Centers” and reviewed by agents at the “Homeland Security Department.”
Old-fashioned concepts in the Bill of Rights – like obtaining search warrants from judges – have been tossed aside. Now the FBI can just issue a “National Security Letter.” Instead of launching an investigation based on probable cause, the FBI can now just target an individual for surveillance and investigation by calling it an “assessment.”
Concerning other elements of the now-massive U.S. spy network, the public can only speculate. For example, no one has yet said publicly what is being done by the numerous “surveillance role players” (discussed elsewhere in this website) with secret clearances and counterintelligence training who are employed by intelligence-security contractors.
If anyone challenges the Constitutional legitimacy of any of these suspicious policies (or if members of the government question other secret policies whose existence is unknown to the public), the matter is referred to the U.S. government’s “Star Chamber” – the secret FISA Court, which in nearly all cases simply rubber-stamps the policy to maintain the façade of legitimacy.
“Suspicious Activity Reports” and “Data Fusion Centers”
In the science fiction film Minority Report (2002) a special
police unit arrests murderers before they commit their crimes
In theory, America’s justice system is based on ideals such as protecting rights and punishing people who have been convicted in fair trials. Sometimes those principles are operative. Often however, the U.S. justice system is driven by political agendas, careerism, greed, laziness, prejudice, bureaucracy, technological opportunism, corporate interests, the arrogance of people in power and – as in the case of organized stalking – criminal behavior by the very people associated with the system.
In some quarters, the notion that criminal suspects should be given a trial is seen as quaint. One example of this new attitude is “predictive policing” – also called “proactive policing” – in which law enforcement agencies aggressively gather and analyze data to try to anticipate threats before they emerge.
Among the manifestations of that law enforcement philosophy is the “Suspicious Activity Reporting” (SAR) system and data “Fusion Centers.”
Apologists for this form of policing characterize the strategy as just a modernized approach to the assessment of information and allocation of resources, but there is also a creepy Orwellian aspect to it, and it seems very unlikely that it does not play some role in the subversion by overt stalking of those secretly declared as “suspicious.”
Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) are initiated from a variety of sources: law enforcement agencies, private sector partnerships (such as InfraGard and DSAC), and tips from citizens (the “If you see something, say something” program).
SARs – and other intelligence – are managed by a network of 78 data fusion centers across the nation, where the information is shared by local and federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies.
Among the disturbing and un-American aspects of SARs is that they can be used to initiate investigations – as a way around the old-fashioned Constitutional requirement of reasonable suspicion or probable cause.
The May 2015 issue of Harper’s Magazine featured an article, “Beyond the Broken Window,” about spying on Americans by the Los Angeles Police Department. The article explores modern Orwellian police state programs, including Suspicious Activity Reports:
Under [Police Chief] Bratton’s watch, Los Angeles became the first city to implement the Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative, a federal-local partnership program led by Homeland Security and the FBI. Suspicious Activity Reports, or SARs, have since been adopted by cities across the country and are now the primary means for documenting citizen behavior that might be construed as “preoperational planning related to terrorism or other criminal activity.” This vague standard means that behavior that is both protected by the First Amendment and entirely benign can be labeled as suspicious.
Lack of Oversight and Accountability for Fusion Centers
This Big Brother system of Fusion Centers and Suspicious Activity Reports takes place in a shadowy structure which has been the subject of much criticism by civil rights advocates. In its description of the multi-agency bureaucracy responsible for oversight of the system, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) had this to say:
“If this all sounds confusing, that’s because it is: the entire intelligence community is a plethora of duplicative agencies with overlapping areas of responsibility.”
Anyone familiar with the ethics and tactics historically associated with the U.S. intelligence business knows that deception of the public, undetected criminality, and creative abuses of power are often merely viewed as examples of professional competence. In that context, it is reasonable to suspect that a policy framework which inherently dodges accountability did not arise by accident. The folks at EFF hint at this also:
“Because they are collaborative, legal authority over fusion centers is blurred, perhaps purposefully.”
Contempt for the opinions and rights of American citizens is pervasive in the law enforcement and intelligence community. Arguably the tone is set by the Department of Justice, but other agencies – federal, state, and local – are just as bad. The Department of Homeland Security, for example, resists efforts by Congress to conduct oversight of the data fusion centers. Senator Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma) had this to say about issue:
“DHS has resisted oversight of these centers. The Department opted not to inform Congress or the public of serious problems plaguing its fusion center and broader intelligence efforts. When this Subcommittee requested documents that would help it identify these issues, the Department initially resisted turning them over, arguing that they were protected by privilege, too sensitive to share, were protected by confidentiality agreements, or did not exist at all. The American people deserve better.”
Compromising Freedoms for Zero Benefits
While many people would consider the system of Suspicious Activity Reporting and Data Fusion Centers to be a creepy Orwellian program, some might still defend it on the grounds that it is identifying terrorist threats – except that it isn’t.
This October 2012 Senate report found that the system was not yielding any information about terrorism (page 2):
“Despite reviewing 13 months’ worth of reporting originating from fusion centers from April 1, 2009 to April 30, 2010, the Subcommittee investigation could identify no reporting which uncovered a terrorist threat, nor could it identify a contribution such fusion center reporting made to disrupt an active terrorist plot.”
A Quick History of the U.S. Intelligence & Law Enforcement Community
Although it is officially part of the executive branch of the federal government, America’s supremely powerful and secretive intelligence community has been described – without exaggeration – as the “fourth branch” of government. It’s the branch that is not mentioned anywhere in the U.S. Constitution, and it’s the branch that has the least respect for the rules established in that document.
Arguably, its genesis occurred in 1908 when the DOJ created the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). In essence, the executive branch of the U.S. government decided to expand its own powers, despite well-founded concerns expressed by members of Congress, such as this statement by New York Congressman George Waldo:
“The only question here before the House is whether we believe in a central secret-service bureau, such as there is in Russia today….I believe that it would be a great blow to freedom and to free institutions if there should arise in this country any such…bureau…”
Tony G. Poveda, in The FBI: A Comprehensive Reference Guide (1999), described the fears which Congress members had when the FBI was first proposed (page 168):
“Members of Congress expressed concern that a Justice Department investigative force might become a secret political police that could be used to spy on citizens, including members
of Congress, and that it could ultimately subvert the democratic principles of government.”
Despite such opposition, one month after Congress adjourned, the
DOJ created its own permanent detective force, which in 1935 was given the name Federal Bureau of Investigation. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges described the essential nature of the agency (at 19:56) in this speech titled “Wages of Rebellion:”
“Let’s not forget why the FBI was formed. The FBI was basically
a goon squad that was formed to break radical movements.”
The next major development in the growth of the now-massive U.S. intelligence community occurred in 1947, when the National Security Act established the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Five years later, the National Security Agency (NSA) was formed. Primary security concerns at that time, of course, revolved around the Cold War with the Soviet Union.
A decade or so later, a similar expansion of the law enforcement intelligence community began. In 1956, two things happened which are related to America’s current “gang stalking” (i.e., counterintelligence stalking) phenomenon.
One of those developments was that police department intelligence
units – “red squads” – formed a national association called LEIU (the Association of Law Enforcement Intelligence Units). The other development that year was that the FBI began its secret counter-intelligence program (COINTELPRO). Counterintelligence crimes perpetrated against Americans by red squads and the FBI over the next 15 years or so primarily targeted supporters of communism, supporters of the civil rights movement, and critics of the Vietnam War.
In theory, COINTELPRO ended in the 1970s after it was exposed by activists and investigated by Congress. Many critics of the FBI allege that the unconstitutional practices of the agency never ceased – or were only briefly suspended.
Just a few years earlier, the first signs of the militarization of local police departments also began. In the 1960s, the first police SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) teams emerged. A parallel development was the expansion of the size and power of the executive branch of the federal government. These two trends became closely connected in 1971 when President Nixon declared the beginning of the perpetual “War on Drugs.”
Although the corrupting influence on police departments and the erosion of Americans’ civil rights associated with the drug war have relevance to modern Cointelpro stalking, the subject is generally beyond the scope of this website. Suffice to say, the constant examples of extreme abuses of power by America’s law enforcement industry associated with the drug war tend to lend support to claims that other civil rights abuses could be taking place without objection from the Justice Department. Currently, America is a country in which possession of two dollars’ worth of marijuana can result in police officers shooting you to death inside your own home.
Although the drug war rages on, the Cold War, of course, has ended. Fortunately for those who are happy about America’s trajectory toward a quasi-police state government, the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks launched a new war to justify unlimited power and money and secrecy for the intelligence and law enforcement industry – the perpetual global “war on terrorism.”
The Counter-Terrorism Charade
In reality, the threat from terrorism is wildly exaggerated by those whose careers benefit from scaring the public about the issue. This New York Times column notes that we should be twice as concerned about bee and wasp stings.
“More Americans die of falling televisions and other appliances than from terrorism. Twice as many Americans die of bee or wasp stings annually. And 15 times as many die by falling off ladders.”
For agencies such as the DOJ and the FBI however, the war on terrorism has been an opportunity for a massive power grab at the expense of Americans’ freedoms – and an opportunity for big profits for defense/security contractors. To rationalize the extraordinary secrecy and power wielded by the FBI, the agency needs to create the illusion that it is protecting Americans from constant peril.
Toward that end, the FBI has essentially been creating its own terrorists to compensate for the shortage of actual terrorists. That the agency concocts and funds fake terrorism plots to entrap hapless stooges in sting operations has become an open secret, as documented, among other places, in a widely-reported July 2014 report by Human Rights Watch.
For its part, the Justice Department is happy to play along with this charade. This is the point for anyone concerned about allegations of ongoing counterintelligence stalking operations: the DOJ is one of the U.S. intelligence agencies, and as such, it is not about to make trouble for any of the other intelligence agencies, such as the FBI.
Another example of this is the DOJ’s relationship with the CIA. When that agency apparently tortured people in the process of its interrogations, and destroyed evidence of the torture, and then lied to Congress about what happened, the DOJ closed its inquiry into the matter in 2012 without bringing any charges. Then, while the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee was investigating the torture, the CIA apparently spied on the senate committee. In July 2014, the DOJ announced that it would not be conducting a criminal investigation of that spying either.
To supplement their access to federal systems for monitoring citizens – such as the data fusion centers – states also create their own watch-lists and databases. Since agencies at the federal level set the tone for state and local elements of the police state, some of these state level programs are also of an Orwellian nature.
Louisiana’s system for monitoring its residents is a case in point. In April 2014 it was reported that the state was building a database which will contain a “Comprehensive Person Profile” on each resident.
In this 3-minute video clip, you can watch a state legislator explain the virtues of this program – which include predicting who is likely to become “a risk to the state” so that the state can preemptively “intervene in that person’s life.”
Note a couple of aspects of this program which are typical of the surveillance trend. One is that the system was originally designed to detect fraud, but now through a sort of “mission creep” phenomenon, it is being expanded to track data for a range of purposes.
The other common factor is that a corporate parasite is cashing in. Technology for the database was developed by the software company SAS, which profits from the destruction of Americans’ privacy.
Future Attribute Screening Technology (FAST)
A blurred image of the FAST system displayed on a computer monitor
Some defenders of “predictive policing” have claimed that civil rights concerns about the philosophy are unwarranted because it mostly involves directing resources to areas with higher statistical probability of crimes – rather than attempting to predict behavior of particular individuals.
The development and implementation of technologies such as Future Attribute Screening Technology (FAST) tends to undermine such assurances.
FAST is a program created by the Homeland Security department for the purpose of detecting malicious intent by screening individuals through electronic monitoring of such things as pulse rate, skin temperature, breathing, and facial expression.
I am not suggesting that FAST has a connection to organized stalking – or even that such systems would necessarily be inappropriate in certain high-security facilities. I merely cite it as an example of the general direction of law enforcement and the fact that opportunities to use such surveillance technologies will be aggressively exploited – especially given the profit motive for contractors to lobby the U.S. government to purchase such systems.
FBI’s Face Recognition Database
In April 2014 the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) reported that information they obtained via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request showed that the FBI expects to have 52 million photographs in its face recognition database by 2015.
The Next Generation Identification (NGI) database will incorporate the FBI’s existing fingerprint database – which contains over a 100 million records – and other forms of biometric data such as iris scans and facial dimensions. This database will be shared with other federal, state, and local agencies, and will be capable of performing tens of thousands of searches per day.
EFF points out that this database will include both criminals and non-criminals – for example, people whose employers require them to have a “mug shot” photo taken as a condition of employment. In theory, this could mean that innocent people might sometimes be investigated if their photo has facial characteristics similar to those of a criminal suspect.
This June 2015 article about facial recognition technology by The Intercept explains that Americans’ privacy is threatened not just by careerist authoritarians in the government, but also by greedy lobbyists for technology firms.
The DOJ’s views on the government’s right to track you via GPS
Most Americans who only casually follow civil rights issues probably assume that the U.S. Department of Justice exists to promote justice – after all, it’s right there in its name and everything.
The DOJ does some of that, but it takes more seriously its role as a protector of the interests of those in power. Part of that role is slapping-down annoying attempts by the American public to find out what its officials are doing.
For example, if you want to challenge the U.S. government’s use of GPS tracking to monitor your location, the DOJ will apparently be fighting you on the basis of arguments outlined in some DOJ memos. As an American, you might be curious about what is in those memos. Too bad. The DOJ decided that those memos are a secret, and in March 2014 a federal court agreed to let the DOJ keep it that way.
The DOJ’s views on the government’s right to detain you forever
In April 2014, the DOJ successfully persuaded the U.S. Supreme Court to dismiss a lawsuit – Hedges v. Obama – challenging the constitutionality of a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The section that was at issue – 1021(b)(2) – essentially authorizes the federal government to indefinitely detain someone if that person is suspected of having supported hostilities against the U.S. or its allies.
Because the U.S. “war on terror” is indefinite, so is the potential period of detention for anyone – including a U.S. citizen – who is detained under the law. Such a person can now be legally deprived of the right to an attorney and the right to a trial for as long as the “war on terror” lasts.
In May 2012 a U.S. District Court judge ruled that this was not kosher, but the DOJ challenged the ruling and it was overturned by an appellate court. When the case was then taken to the U.S. Supreme Court, the DOJ asked that the case be dismissed. The court obliged.
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges – the lead plaintiff in the case – published a column denouncing the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the case. He cited the response by Carl Mayer, one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys in the case:
“…the Supreme Court has turned its back on precedent dating back to the Civil War era that holds that the military cannot police the streets of America”
That the U.S. military now has jurisdiction over civilians is no small concern. As a practical matter, the executive branch has few limits anymore on what it can do simply by invoking the magical phrase “national security.”
As always, Hedges did an excellent job of providing the larger political context of such developments:
“….if we do not rapidly build militant mass movements to overthrow corporate tyranny, including breaking the back of the two-party duopoly that is the mask of corporate power, we will lose our liberty.”
“….The fusion of corporate and state power means that government is broken. It is little more than a protection racket for Wall Street. And it is our job to wrest government back. This will come only through the building of mass movements.”
The DOJ’s views on the government’s right to assassinate you
In September 2011 an American citizen – Anwar al-Awlaki – was assassinated by a U.S. drone strike. Although dozens of Americans are executed each year, traditionally they are given trials first, and are only killed after having been convicted.
Many people questioned the legality of the assassination and inquired about the legal reasoning of the U.S. Department of Justice. However, the DOJ declined to share its secret legal justification for the policy of targeted killings. The DOJ’s position, in essence, was that the federal government not only has the legal right to kill American citizens without first giving them a trial, it also does not have to explain to the public why it believes such legal authority exists.
Fake Secret Laws Created by Federal Agencies
In a previous section of this webpage – regarding the selection of targeted individuals – I mentioned the ordeal of Rahinah Ibrahim, a woman whose name had been placed on the federal no-fly list by mistake. Ms. Ibrahim had to spend 9 years battling to have her name removed from that watch-list before a federal judge finally ruled in her favor in February 2014. During that process, Ibrahim had to litigate without knowing the information in the U.S. government’s case against her.
In his excellent analysis of that case, Peter Van Buren, a former U.S. State Department Foreign Service Officer, explained how “the DOJ employed an arsenal of dodges and post-9/11 tricks to impede her lawsuit.”
One of the DOJ’s legal weapons used against Ms. Ibrahim was invoking the “state secrets doctrine.” As Van Buren explains, that is not a U.S. law created by Congress:
….it is instead a kind of assumed privilege and the courts accept it as such. Based on it, the president can refuse to produce evidence in a court case on the grounds that its public disclosure might harm national security. The government has, in the past,successfully employed this “privilege” to withhold information and dead-end legal challenges. Once “state secrets” is in play, there is literally nothing left to talk about in court.
Another similar weapon used by the DOJ against Ibrahim and others involves the use of secret classifications which have been created by federal agencies – rather than by Congress:
A related DOJ dodge was also brought to bear in an attempt to derail Ibrahim’s case: the use of made-up classification categories that dispatch even routine information into the black world of national security. Much of the information concerning her placement on the no-fly list, for instance, was labeled Security Sensitive Information (SSI) and so was unavailable to her. SSI is among hundreds of post-9/11 security categories created via memo by various federal agencies. These categories, too, have no true legal basis. Congress never passed a law establishing anything called SSI, nor is there any law prohibiting the disclosure of SSI information.
The DOJ’s Index of Crimes
As mentioned in the introduction to this overview, claims about the widespread existence of gang stalking are supported by the DOJ’s own crime survey statistics which showed that in 2006 an estimated 445,220 individuals reported being stalked by three or more perpetrators. (Page 12 of the report has the relevant numbers: 13.1 percent of 3,398,630 victims reported such group stalking.)
Claims about gang stalking are also supported by the fact that the National Center for Victims of Crime – which is funded by the DOJ – apparently receives “thousands of calls per month” about such crimes. Yet organized stalking is conspicuously absent from the DOJ’s Index of Crimes.
As previously mentioned, Robert L. Snow, a retired police captain from the Indianapolis P.D., wrote a book called Stopping a Stalker, in which he devoted a chapter to the subject of organized stalking by multiple perpetrators associated with causes (“cause stalking”) – such as stalking by extreme anti-abortion activists.
However, the entire subject of organized stalking (or “group stalking,” “vigilante stalking,” etc.) does not appear in the DOJ’s website – even though the site includes a comprehensive index of types of crimes and legal issues, including some that are relatively obscure.
The DOJ’s “Weed and Seed” Program
The most interesting section of the DOJ website’s crime index – in relation to the government’s apparent acquiescence in gang stalking – is a reference to a program called “Weed and Seed.” The program name was still in the index the last time I checked, but the information for that section – which was part of something called the “Community Capacity Development Office” (CCDO) no longer existed. Elsewhere in the website was a statement explaining that the CCDO was closed due to lack of funding:
“As of June 5, 2011, the Community Capacity Development Office (CCDO) closed due to a lack of federal funding for the office. For Fiscal Year 2012 Weed and Seed grants, the Bureau of Justice Assistance will manage these grants until the end of the grant award period.”
I copied the Weed and Seed program’s description (shown below) while
it was still on the DOJ’s website in February 2012. It describes a community policing strategy. If you read it without the context of first-hand experience or an awareness of the historical background, it might seem innocuous. If you are familiar with the FBI’s Cointelpro operations (past and present), and the Stasi’s system of targeting individuals to be “weeded out” of society, it takes on a much darker character.
Operation Weed and Seed
A strategy within the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs that incorporates community-based initiatives. It is an innovative and comprehensive multi-agency approach to law enforcement, crime prevention, and community revitalization.
The Weed and Seed Strategy
Operation Weed and Seed is foremost a strategy–rather than a grant program– which aims to prevent, control, and reduce violent crime, drug abuse, and gang activity in targeted high-crime neighborhoods across the country. Weed and Seed sites range in size from several neighborhood blocks to 15 square miles.
The strategy involves a two-pronged approach: law enforcement agencies and prosecutors cooperate in “weeding out” criminals who participate in violent crime and drug abuse, attempting to prevent their return to the targeted area; and “seeding” brings human services to the area, encompassing prevention, intervention, treatment, and neighborhood revitalization.
A community-orientated policing component bridges weeding and seeding strategies. Officers obtain helpful information from area residents for weeding efforts while they aid residents in obtaining information about community revitalization and seeding resources.
Note that this law enforcement model can be exploited not just by government agencies, but also by private groups and individuals for their own agendas. I would suggest that is exactly what is happening. Private organizations and individuals who have the relevant skill sets, connections to law enforcement and intelligence agencies, and assets to hire private investigators, can either create illicit “neighborhood watch” programs to monitor and harass their targets, or they can exploit existing programs by feeding information (whether true or false) about their targets to law enforcement personnel to have the victims become subjects of investigation and surveillance.
The “Weed and Seed” program is the most explicit official statement of the institutional philosophy behind gang stalking – namely, that the victims are deserving of persecution because they are potential criminals, socially marginal dissidents, drug-users, whistle-blowers, trouble-makers, etc. Essentially, the targeted individuals are the “weeds” that need to be removed (or at least isolated and suppressed).
“All governments are run by liars.”
– I.F. Stone
“…if you think any American official is going
to tell you the truth, then you’re stupid.”
– Arthur Sylvester, assistant secretary of defense for public affairs,
at a press conference during the Vietnam War
The role of disinformation in counterintelligence stalking
According to the U.S. Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive, disinformation is defined as follows:
Carefully contrived misinformation prepared by an intelligence or CI service for the purpose of misleading, deluding, disrupting, or undermining confidence in individuals, organizations, or governments.
In a national program of counterintelligence subversion such as America’s version of the communist Stasi network, some public exposure is inevitable. Disinformation is used to mitigate the effects of that exposure.
Often the effectiveness of disinformation derives from the fact that most people – unlike, say, con artists, intelligence agents, and detectives – don’t usually even consider that the information they’re encountering might be a batch of deliberate lies. Partly because of most Americans’ ignorance of history and politics, lying to them about security issues is about as challenging as performing a magic trick for a toddler.
Sadly, most Americans are unaware of the history of disinformation campaigns by the U.S. government. One of the most well-documented programs in which the U.S. intelligence community systematically lied to the American public occurred in the 1950s. Here is a portion of a Wikipedia entry about it. The facts of the program are not in dispute.
Operation Mockingbird was a secret Central Intelligence Agency campaign to influence media beginning in the 1950s. Organized by Cord Meyer and Allen W. Dulles in the 1950s, it was later led by Frank Wisner after Dulles became head of CIA. The organization recruited leading American journalists into a network to help present the CIA’s views, and funded some student and cultural organizations, and magazines as fronts. As it developed, it also worked to influence foreign media and political campaigns, in addition to activities by other operating units of the CIA.
By the early 1950s, Wisner ‘owned’ respected members of The New York Times, Newsweek, CBS and other communications vehicles.
The usual methodology was placing reports developed from intelligence provided by the CIA to witting or unwitting reporters. Those reports would then be repeated or cited by the preceding reporters which in turn would then be cited throughout the media wire services. These networks were run by people with well-known liberal but pro-American big business and anti-Soviet views such as William Paley (CBS), Henry Luce (Time and Life Magazine), Arthur Hays Sulzberger (New York Times), Alfred Friendly (managing editor of the Washington Post), Jerry O’Leary(Washington Star), Hal Hendrix (Miami News), Barry Bingham, Sr. (Louisville Courier-Journal), James Copley (Copley News Services) and Joseph Harrison (Christian Science Monitor).
The Office of Policy Coordination (OPC) was funded by siphoning of funds intended for the Marshall Plan. Some of this money was used to bribe journalists and publishers.
According to Alex Constantine (Mockingbird: The Subversion Of The Free Press By The CIA), in the 1950s, “some 3,000 salaried and contract CIA employees were eventually engaged in propaganda efforts”. Wisner was able to constrain newspapers from reporting about certain events, including the CIA plots to overthrow the governments of Iran.
Carl Bernstein’s reporting on Operation Mockingbird
For additional information about Operation Mockingbird, you should read this excellent article on the subject by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Carl Bernstein.
Here is an excerpt from that article about how the New York Times essentially served as a propaganda tool for the CIA:
The Agency’s relationship with the Times was by far its most valuable among newspapers, according to CIA officials. From 1950 to 1966, about ten CIA employees were provided Times cover under arrangements approved by the newspaper’s late publisher, Arthur Hays Sulzberger. The cover arrangements were part of a general Times policy—set by Sulzberger—to provide assistance to the CIA whenever possible.
Sulzberger was especially close to Allen Dulles. “At that level of contact it was the mighty talking to the mighty,” said a high‑level CIA official who was present at some of the discussions. “There was an agreement in principle that, yes indeed, we would help each other. The question of cover came up on several occasions. It was agreed that the actual arrangements would be handled by subordinates…. The mighty didn’t want to know the specifics; they wanted plausible deniability.
News Media Whores in the Operation Mockingbird Era
Probably few readers of this website need to have their cynicism about the corporate news media – past and present – reinforced, but this document is worth a look anyway.
One of the most prominent reporters on American politics in the 1960s was Theodore H. White, a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist whose book The Making of the President sold four million copies. Scott Porch at Politico profiled him in April 2015, and Jon Schwarz at The Intercept posted this summary of the essential point. In his published writings, White lavished praise upon members of the political class and the press. Privately, however, he admitted that they were all liars. Here is one of the excerpts from a previously-unreleased letter White sent to a close friend in 1960:
“…it is all fraudulent, all of it, everywhere, up and down, East and West. The movies, radio and state and books and TV — all of them are fraudulent; and the foundations and universities and scholars, they are all fraudulent too; and the executives and the financiers … and the Commissars and the Krushchevs and the Mao Tze-tungs, they are fraudulent equally; it is all a great game; and there are two dangers in this great game: first, the fraudulent people come to believe their own lies, they come to have faith in their fraud; and second, underneath it all, because people are fundamentally good, they come to realize that we live in lies and the people get angrier and angrier and they may explode.”
One of the reasons that the U.S. surveillance state – the FBI, NSA, CIA, DHS, and their army of private contractors and useful-idiot minions – keeps a close eye on Americans is to keep a lid on such anger.
Today’s News Media Whores
Operation Mockingbird was an example of systematic disinformation.
An equally serious threat to the American public is the informal disinformation that comes from biased news reporting. Distortion and deception occur routinely in the mainstream press on intelligence issues because of ideological bias and careerist motivations.
Defending the political establishment when it is lying about intelligence matters serves the political agenda of right-wing reporters, and it creates opportunities for such reporters to get access to senior officials for interviews. One example of someone who carries water for the government – rather than serving as a professionally skeptical journalist – is National Public Radio (NPR) reporter Dina Temple-Raston.
An August 2014 article by Glenn Greenwald helpfully deconstructed a piece of dishonest reporting by Temple-Raston about NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden. In the wake of Snowden’s revelations that the NSA was spying on Americans in violation of the Fourth Amendment, various apologists for the U.S. intelligence community asserted that the revelations had damaged U.S. national security. It was claimed that surveillance methods were revealed in a way that enabled terrorists to more effectively conduct their business undetected.
The claim was rubbish, but to the extent that people believed it, it served the political interests of those who support Big Brother-type domestic spying on Americans by their government. With the apparent goal of giving the claim plausibility, NPR broadcast a report on August 1, 2014 that a data firm called Recorded Future had produced “tangible evidence” which proved the government’s accusations.
While the report itself was not convincing – for reasons outlined in Greenwald’s article, NPR also failed to disclose that Recorded Future receives significant funding from the CIA. Instead, the corporation was portrayed as an independent source. That kind of lying is common, and it creates an environment in which intelligence agencies can get away with serious abuses of power.
To fully appreciate the feud between real journalists like Greenwald and government propagandists like Temple-Raston, you should watch the first 7 minutes of this video clip, in which those two reporters debate whether it is appropriate for the U.S. government to execute Americans without due process:
Current U.S. Government Policies on Lying
The values associated with Operation Mockingbird are alive and well in America’s federal government today – with its penchant for secrecy and for spying on Americans – and its casual attitude about the Constitution and honesty.
An article by journalist Glenn Greenwald in January 2010 in Salon.com called attention to the shockingly Orwellian view of news and propaganda in both the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations. In particular, Greenwald focused on a member of the Obama administration.
Cass Sunstein – a close confidant of President Obama – who served as Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs from September 2009 to 2012 – has an interesting view on lying by the federal government: he favors it.
“In 2008, while at Harvard Law School, Sunstein co-wrote a truly pernicious paper proposing that the U.S. Government employ teams of covert agents and pseudo-”independent” advocates to “cognitively infiltrate” online groups and websites — as well as other activist groups — which advocate views that Sunstein deems “false conspiracy theories” about the Government. This would be designed to increase citizens’ faith in government officials and undermine the credibility of conspiracists.
….Sunstein advocates that the Government’s stealth infiltration should be accomplished by sending covert agents into “chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups.” He also proposes that the Government make secret payments to so-called “independent” credible voices to bolster the Government’s messaging (on the ground that those who don’t believe government sources will be more inclined to listen to those who appear independent while secretly acting on behalf of the Government). This program would target those advocating false “conspiracy theories,” which they define to mean: “an attempt to explain an event or practice by reference to the machinations of powerful people, who have also managed to conceal their role.”
Samantha Power, President Barack Obama, and Cass Sunstein in a New York Times photo – May 2010. Samantha Power, a member of Obama’s National Security Council, is Sunstein’s wife.
Not surprisingly, Sunstein seems to be uncomfortable when confronted with his record of explicitly condoning government deception. He has not, however, disavowed his views. In fact, he has written articles purporting to reveal what he sees as a threat posed by “paranoid” conspiracy theories.
As far as I know, Sunstein has never discussed whether it might contribute to the public’s “paranoid” distrust of government officials to have the head of the Office of Information write a paper advocating that the government should sometimes lie to the citizens.
That someone with Sunstein’s high profile would have no reservations about (a) publicly advocating systematic lying to the public by the U.S. government, and (b) ridiculing people who do not blindly trust government officials, speaks volumes about the arrogance and moral corruption of America’s political class.
One of the main counterintelligence disinformation strategies to keep organized stalking from being closely investigated by the mainstream press is to simply dismiss it as a “conspiracy theory.” For many people, simply invoking that term will short-circuit any critical thinking about an allegation. They are encouraged in that view by mainstream media institutions which routinely embrace intellectual conformity masquerading as skepticism.
An April 1977 article in Reason by economist and historian Murray N. Rothbard offers a clear explanation of the political establishment’s relentless dismissal of analyses which take into account the self-interests of those in power.
“It is no wonder that usually these realistic analyses are spelled out by various “extremists” who are outside the Establishment consensus. For it is vital to the continued rule of the State apparatus that it have legitimacy and even sanctity in the eyes of the public, and it is vital to that sanctity that our politicians and bureaucrats be deemed to be disembodied spirits solely devoted to the “public good.” Once let the cat out of the bag that these spirits are all too often grounded in the solid earth of advancing a set of economic interests through use of the State, and the basic mystique of government begins to collapse.”
Another person with well-informed insights on the issue of conspiracy theories is Russ Baker – an investigative journalist whose articles have been published in The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, the Nation, The New York Times, the Washington Post, The Village Voice, Esquire and other major publications.
In this article, Baker deconstructs a piece of rubbish featured in The New York Times which advocates, essentially, that you should always believe what the government says.
In contrast to the Times reporter’s apparent view that virtually all conspiracies are fictional and attributable to psychological explanations, Baker makes this observation about the potential for conspiratorial government crimes in America:
“Her assumption is that, in a country perennially employing tens of thousands of top-secret covert operatives, homicide-trained assassins and “special forces” enthusiasts, no one has any reason to suspect that any event involving some kind of death or mayhem was ever engineered on an organized basis.”
Michael Parenti on Conspiracy Theories
Historian Michael Parenti, who received his PhD in political science from Yale University, has written about the concept of “conspiracy theories.” In this 2010 lecture, “Understanding Deep Politics,” Parenti explains the essential rhetorical and epistemological issues associated with the term “conspiracy theory.” Parenti’s insightful analysis of this subject has obvious implications for anyone attempting to assess claims about criminality in America’s public and private intelligence-security agencies.
Blatant Lying by Senior U.S. Intelligence Officials
When Cointelpro stalkers slander targeted individuals and tell other lies that enable them to perpetrate counterintelligence subversion against Americans, they are following the same ethical standards set by those at the very top of their industry. Again, the fish rots from the head down.
The long history of lying associated with the U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies is too extensive to chronicle here, but you can get a sense of the culture by considering just a few of the recent scandals.
In 2013 and 2014, three of the most senior intelligence officials were caught lying, and none of them suffered any consequences. An article in Reason in August 2014 reviewed some of the biggest lies.
CIA Director John Brennan denied that his agency was spying on the U.S. Senate while it was investigating the agency’s use of torture, and then the agency’s inspector general revealed that the spying did in fact happen. In response, President Barack Obama harshly criticized the CIA Director of course, saying “I have full confidence in John Brennan.”
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper not only lied, he did so under oath while testifying in a Senate hearing about the mass surveillance of Americans by the NSA. Subsequent revelations by the whistle-blower Edward Snowden showed that the mass surveillance which Clapper denied was happening was in fact taking place. Although Clapper was not prosecuted for committing perjury, he did have to read about the harsh criticism later expressed by President Obama in an interview on CNN. Obama said that Clapper “should have been more careful about how he responded.”
NSA Director Keith Alexander lied about the mass surveillance of Americans by the NSA twice. He denied that the data was being collected, then after it was revealed, he claimed that the program had uncovered 54 terrorist plots. When challenged by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman, Patrick Leahy, he admitted that the number was an exaggeration. Later the President’s Review Board reported that the actual number of terrorist threats revealed was zero. Naturally, Alexander was immediately fired. Just kidding – actually he kept his job until March 2014 and then retired to take a job in the financial industry which paid $600,000 per month.
To appreciate the extent of the moral corruption and casual attitude toward the U.S. Constitution – and toward honesty – within America’s law enforcement and intelligence community, it is important to note that the government’s enforcers do not merely lie on occasion; they lie as a matter of official policy.
A clear example of this was reported by Reuters in August 2013. A secretive unit within the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) called the Special Operations Division (SOD) gathers information – for example, through foreign and domestic wiretaps – and forwards that information to various agencies. The SOD also helps coordinate multi-agency investigations.
So far, so good (apart from the strategic idiocy and civil rights violations inherent in drug prohibition). However, documents obtained by Reuters showed that agents who receive those tips from the SOD are instructed to lie about the origins of their investigations by keeping the SOD’s involvement a secret from defense lawyers, prosecutors, and judges.
That policy – called “parallel construction” – involves “re-creating” the investigation record to make it appear that the initial step in the investigation was something other than a tip from the SOD.
For example, an agent might be told to stop and search a particular vehicle based on a tip. If that search results in an arrest, the agent will then lie – in accordance with official policy – and say that the search was the result of a routine traffic stop.
Presumably “parallel construction” exploits a moral version of a parallel universe – one in which lying is ethically sound. We can only speculate about the legal theory upon which the concept is based because, as Reuters reported: “ A spokesman with the Department of Justice, which oversees the DEA, declined to comment.”
Slandering Critics of Corporations
U.S. government agencies and corporations sometimes use intelligence-security contractors to do their dirty work, such as spying on and slandering critics. A prime example of this was reported in a June 18, 2013 article published in The Nation titled “The Strange Case of Barrett Brown.”
Intelligence contractors planned an operation to discredit a group critical of the Chamber of Commerce, and to discredit others, such as reporter Glenn Greenwald:
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.
If operations such as that one were not proven by the documents obtained by hackers, many people would dismiss allegations of such activities as tin-foil hat conspiracy theories.
Another example (among many) happened in 2012. When a reporter and editor at USA Today investigated one of the Pentagon contractors being paid to spread propaganda, that contractor began a secret smear campaign against them.
“Fake Twitter and Facebook accounts were created in their names, along with a Wikipedia entry and dozens of message board postings and blog comments. Websites were registered in their names…”
A proxy service was used to hide the identity of the owner of the websites, and another website was registered to a non-existent address. Here is an article about it.
The four major disinformation tactics used by America’s Stasi
Four main tactics are used by the U.S. intelligence-law enforcement industry to conceal its counterintelligence operations against U.S. citizens. Each tactic is a variation on the same general strategy – namely, to discredit organized stalking targets by casting doubts on their sanity and intelligence.
1) Government Front Groups
One tactic is to create faux support groups for gang stalking victims. Freedom From Covert Harassment and Surveillance (FFCHS) and Organized Stalking Informers (OSI), to which I dedicate a page of this website, are the main examples.
These groups serve two purposes. First, they exist so that victims will turn to them – rather than forming their own legitimate advocacy groups to lobby Congress and the media to investigate gang stalking.
Secondly, everything about the groups is designed to convey the impression that people claiming to be gang stalking victims should not be taken seriously. For example, the written materials associated with those two groups – such as their websites and petitions – appear very badly written and poorly edited. The websites and documents contain almost no specific information about the perpetrators of organized stalking, and very rarely refer to the published mainstream news reports about gang stalking and counterintelligence activities.
Another type of front group deception used in counterintelligence operations occurs when agents persuade a legitimate organization to let itself be used to stage activities which are actually orchestrated by a counterintelligence agency.
An example of that apparently occurred in 2013, when a U.K-based film company called Firecracker Films was apparently used as a front under the pretense that it was considering the production of a documentary about gang stalking.
Representatives of the company began to solicit the participation of targeted individuals of organized stalking in what was apparently a fake project by asking the individuals to consent to video chat interviews about their experiences – ostensibly for the purposes of gathering material for determining whether to go ahead with the production of the documentary.
In reality – presumably – the videos would be used to gather information about the victims’ perceptions of being illegally stalked by the feds.
Online searches of Internet forums about organized stalking revealed that agents purporting to be representatives of Firecracker Films had used the same ploy previously. They had posted messages encouraging individuals to contact them. In both instances the “project” was quietly abandoned or postponed.
You can read more about my account of the incident – including the email I sent to everyone at Firecracker Films in my November 17, 2013 post on the Cointelpro News (2013) page of this website.
2) Disinformation Websites
A second tactic is the creation of numerous websites about gang stalking that are filled with badly-written stupid assertions and extraneous information. Again, the objective is to discredit all self-proclaimed organized stalking victims by making it appear that they are paranoid idiots.
On the “Recommended Websites” page of Fight Gang Stalking, I posted links to legitimate sites about organized stalking, and also links to some of the dozens of websites designed to spread disinformation.
Anyone who browses through some of the countless disinformation websites will begin to recognize common themes. For example, many of the sites emphasize mind-control – although they often do so without reference to MK Ultra – since (a) no one disputes the facts about that CIA program, and (b) the U.S. intelligence community would prefer to avoid contributing to the public’s awareness of it.
Images on gang stalking disinformation websites are generally chosen to suggest insanity – either subtly or obviously. Whenever you see an image such as this one, you have almost certainly stumbled upon a disinformation site:
Typical image from a disinformation website
Another common aspect of these websites reflects an interesting personality trait of people in the counterintelligence (CI) business. CI perps – calling them “agents” would be giving them too much credit – seem to fancy themselves as some kind of evil James Bond movie villains. The phenomenon is similar to the embrace of military hardware and tactics by police officers who imagine themselves to be special warfare unit soldiers.
Even lowly web page designers and sock puppets (discussed below) in the counterintelligence business seem to embrace the cultural flavor one sees on the insignia patches of military units. Cyber personas posting comments online adopt names like “Lucifer” or “Nemesis.” Images on their websites reflect what journalist Douglas Valentine calls the “Cult of Death.” CI perps seem to have the same personality type that Valentine attributes to CIA agents – namely, that of a cowardly sociopath:
“…a sociopath without the guts to go it alone in the underworld. They gravitate to the CIA because they are protected there by the all-powerful Cult of Death.”
You can even see this on display at the aforementioned website of the U.S. Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive. Here, for example, is one of their official posters celebrating the value of thought policing:
Official U.S. Counterintelligence Poster
By the way, if you are really impressed by this kind of thing, you can download the poster-size version of the above image from the U.S. government here.
In the spirit of that obsession with x-rays and brain images, I offer the following:
U.S. Government Counterintelligence Employee
3) Cyber Personas (also called “Sock Puppets”)
A third form of disinformation is the use of cyber personas to monitor and discredit legitimate websites and social media entities which discuss gang stalking.
The U.S. Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive defines a cyber persona as follows:
An identity used in cyberspace to obtain information or influence others, while dissociating the actor’s true identity or affiliation.
Anyone who reads the comments posted online whenever the subject of gang stalking is raised, will note that reports of gang stalking almost invariably attract sarcastic – but ultimately unconvincing – statements by forum trolls, registering their skepticism.
One expects that sort of verbal warfare on Internet forums about politics, but you have to wonder why the relatively obscure topic of gang stalking attracts such a dedicated army of detractors. As Hamlet’s mother observed, sometimes people “protest too much.”
As this article posted on LiveLeak notes, a former CIA clandestine service trainee and DIA analyst revealed that the FBI and CIA use trolls to monitor social media and interact with users to discredit information disseminated on the web.
Lynnae Williams reports that she became a gang stalking target when she left the CIA. According to her blogs and Twitter messages, Ms. Williams has been stalked and intensely harassed by the FBI – to the point that she eventually felt compelled to leave the U.S.
This is her original blog: http://ciacorrupt.blogspot.com/
Most mainstream news media corporations dutifully avoid investigating and discussing the U.S. government’s use of cyber personas to spread disinformation.
Fortunately, some news sources are not on the federal government’s leash.
The Guardian newspaper – which published the famous revelations about NSA surveillance leaked by Edward Snowden – reported in July 2013 on the sneaky (and possibly illegal) proposals by a consortium of private intelligence contracting firms, such as Stratfor, to spread lies on the Internet on behalf of their corporate clients, using personas:
“[The intelligence firms were] involved in another scheme to deploy sophisticated software-based fake people across social networks in order to infiltrate and mislead.”
As I write this, hacker-activist Jeremy Hammond is serving a ten year prison sentence for his role in exposing how this shadowy industry of professional liars and spies operates on behalf of large U.S. corporations.
Journalist Barrett Brown is in jail in Texas facing charges which could potentially lead to a life sentence for his role in exposing the information yielded by the hacked emails.
Brown founded a group called Project PM to sort through the numerous emails that had been revealed. Here is a fascinating web page by that group which summarizes the disinformation schemes organized by the intelligence-security contractors.
The proof: secret documents leaked by Edward Snowden
Articles by Glenn Greenwald published by NBC News and The Intercept in February 2014 revealed leaked documents from NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden which show some of the online disinformation tactics being used by the intelligence agency GCHQ (the U.K.’s equivalent of the NSA).
One of the main tactics described in the secret documents is spreading false information online to destroy the reputations of targeted individuals and groups. Another main tactic was to use social science principles to manipulate online discussions and activism.
No one familiar with organized stalking in the U.S. is unaware that western intelligence agencies systematically spread lies on the Internet – in discussion forums, for example. Now there is proof.
Among the tactics revealed by the documents is the use of false flag operations (referred to as such in the documents) in which the spy agency posts material online and makes it appear that it was posted by a targeted individual or group. GCHQ also creates fake blog posts which purport to be those of victims of the people and groups being targeted.
Other tactics include leaking confidential information and emailing colleagues, neighbors and friends of the target.
Greenwald poses this question for citizens and policy-makers on this issue:
“Who would possibly trust a government to exercise these powers at all, let alone do so in secret, with virtually no oversight, and outside of any cognizable legal framework?”
Another fundamental point made by Greenwald – and this applies equally to organized stalking – is that these tactics are not about national security. These are weapons being used in many cases to destroy people who are suspected of crimes but have never been charged or convicted, and people who are engaged in political activism of which the government disapproves.
4) Faux Articles Planted in the News Media
Finally, the fourth disinformation tactic is to plant articles in the news media which create the impression that “gang stalking” exists only in the minds of delusional individuals.
“Sharing Their Demons on the Web”
Without knowing the genesis of the following high-profile article, it is impossible to be certain that it is – as I suspect – an example of deliberate disinformation. No explanation is provided within the article itself about how The New York Times became aware of reports about organized stalking, and decided to publish a piece on the subject. We cannot ask the author, Sarah Kershaw, about it, because she died – either by suicide or murder – in February 2016.
In any case, the article – linked below – is either an intentional piece of disinformation, or a case of a credulous reporter failing to recognize that she was being used to convey disinformation about “disruption” (counterintelligence-speak for the intense surveillance and harassment of the sort practiced by the FBI during its illegal COINTELPRO operations – and by communist East Germany’s secret police, the Stasi).
“Sharing Their Demons on the Web” – published by The New York Times on November 13, 2008, is a lengthy article about organized stalking. More precisely, it is an article about claims by (purported) victims of organized stalking. Apparently – make of this what you will, no one at the Times – saw fit to invest any resources investigating the extent to which such practices might actually be occurring. Instead, the reporter – and editors – chose to limit their research to interviewing four mental health professionals (psychiatrists and psychologists) about delusions and mental illness. Notably, the reporter did not interview any security experts, such as current or former federal agents, police officers, or private investigators – let alone anyone who has a history of exposing criminality in law enforcement and intelligence agencies.
In her article, Ms. Kershaw quoted only one 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 never advocated any activities that might realistically attract attention to itself or to the issue of counterintelligence stalking. The group 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 on the home page of the website, which advocated – literally – eating dirt. (You can see a screen shot of the item – now 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 credible news media reports about “gang stalking” – one of the few things which could actually help expose what is happening.
Among the sentences in the Times article which should not go unnoticed is this quote – from another disinformation website – about who is perpetrating the stalking:
“The target is followed around and placed under surveillance by Civilian Spies/Snitches 24/7.”
Conveniently – from the perspective of the most likely perpetrators – contractors with security clearances and counterintelligence experience working as “surveillance role players,” local Law Enforcement Intelligence Units (LEIUs), FBI and DHS-sanctioned Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) members, current and former corrupt cops and private investigators doing vigilante and mercenary work – the stalkers are all described as “civilians.” Websites of the sort mentioned in the article imply that, despite the tens of billions of dollars spent each year by the U.S. surveillance state, the 17 federal intelligence agencies, their local minions, and law enforcement agencies have no clue what is happening.
For its part, by the way, the U.S. Department of Justice refuses to publicly discuss FFCHS.
The possibility that the creators of such websites might be intentionally lying to discredit reports by targets of surveillance crimes was not even mentioned in Ms. Kershaw’s article. In short, she was either (a) completely out of her depth regarding counterintelligence, or (b) a willing accomplice to an effort at spreading disinformation. Either scenario is plausible.
Incidentally, by coincidence or not, an article with an identical take on the issue of organized stalking was published by ABC News one month after the Times’ article appeared. That article – about online discussions of conspiracy theories – included, by coincidence or not, an interview with one of the same psychiatrists interviewed by the Times, Ken Duckworth. Here is the article’s description of everyone who claims that America’s massive, secretive, post-9/11 surveillance state might be using tactics historically associated with 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 more than seven years ago, “groups” (websites) and blogs similar to FFCHS have been springing up like mushrooms. All of them have the exact same suspicious characteristics. At the same time though, local, national, and international news reports in various media have emerged which tend – especially in the aggregate – to support claims about stalking that involves psychological terrorism tactics, such as those that were employed by the Stasi. During that same period, official documents made public by NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden exposed that the U.S. government engages in illegal mass surveillance, and lies about it – a revelation which only adds plausibility to claims by organized stalking victims. At some point, events might very well 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.
15. The wall of silence which surrounds
. “gang stalking”
“The first rule of fight club is you do not talk about fight club.”
– from the 1999 film Fight Club
Sometimes people violate the rule, and do mention fight club.
A local TV news broadcast in California in January 2011 featured a report about gang stalking in which the reporters used the term and so did Lieutenant Larry Richard of the Santa Cruz Police Department.
Even in that instance, Lt. Richard (a) did not say that the stalking was perpetrated by the government, and (b) he seemed to walk-back his comment in a subsequent letter about the TV broadcast obtained by a Freedom of Information request.
Even such qualified reports are the exception to the rule. Despite its seriousness, gang stalking is rarely discussed publicly by the mainstream news media – let alone by law enforcement officials. (I have listed the most notable exceptions that I am aware of above in the “Published News Reports” section of this web page.)
The Silence of the F.B.I. and the D.O.J.
What mainly accounts for the FBI’s success in keeping its modern counterintelligence operations off of the American public’s radar is the secrecy with which the program is administered and the use of tactics chosen specifically for their lack of incriminating evidence.
Official records from the U.S. Senate’s Church Committee cited previously on this webpage show that many of the same tactics were unquestionably used by the FBI during the first version of Cointelpro. Those operations also remained unknown to the general public until some civilan activists broke into an FBI office and stole the secret documents which proved it.
Based upon reports by gang stalking victims, U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies have greatly raised the technological sophistication for domestic counterintelligence – just as was alleged by the late Ted Gunderson, the former FBI official, when he discussed gang stalking. In addition, revelations in 2013 by NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden proved that the scope of Big Brother’s surveillance is now vast.
“Gang stalking” is also more sophisticated than Cointelpro in the realm
of law: a legal architecture has been developed which enables counterintelligence operations to be conducted under a paper charade of legal legitimacy within the Department of Justice, despite violating the U.S. Constitution.
By labeling extra-judicial punishment as “surveillance” and “investigation,” and by referring to stalkers as “informants,” and by citing a “national security” need to keep their operations shrouded in secrecy, the FBI and DOJ can pretty much do whatever they want.
In fact, the Orwellian nature of the legal fictions is even deeper. As explained previously, “investigations” have been replaced in many cases with “assessments” which have lower standards of suspicion. “National Security Letters” based upon “Suspicious Activity Reports” have replaced court-sanctioned subpoenas. As a practical matter, organized stalking can be initiated with no concerns about the Fourth Amendment or the state and federal laws against stalking.
One of the ways silence is maintained – as mentioned previously – is by the FBI’s exemption from the Whistleblower Protection Act. Anyone wishing to expose misconduct at the FBI could face severe legal repercussions.
Nothing comparable to Edward Snowden’s revelations about the NSA’s domestic spying has yet occurred with the FBI. Ted Gunderson did not speak out about gang stalking until after he was retired, and he did not reveal any smoking-gun documents to prove his allegations. Also, Gunderson claimed that his discussion of organized stalking resulted in him being targeted himself – which would tend to discourage other potential whistle-blowers.
People familiar with corruption in the U.S. government have deep suspicions about the kinds of crimes being perpetrated by agencies such as the FBI and the CIA. Writing on that subject in January 2014, former State Department Foreign Service Officer Peter Van Buren put it this way:
“…count on one thing: we undoubtedly don’t yet know the worst or most illegal aspects of this era of “intelligence.” After all, while Snowden “liberated” up to 1.7 million National Security Agency documents (many of them not yet looked at, analyzed, or written about), there have been no similar twenty-first-century break-ins at the FBI, the CIA, or other parts of the American intelligence community (or for that matter at the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security). Massive and shocking as the NSA revelations have been, the curtain has only been pulled back on a corner of the new Washington world that we, the people, continue to fund, even if we aren’t considered important enough to know anything about it.” [emphasis added]
The Silence of Intelligence-Security Contractors
Just as law enforcement and intelligence agency personnel involved in counterintelligence activities are bound by secrecy oaths, so is the vast industry of private contractors employed by those agencies. For example, job ads posted by security-intelligence contractors for “surveillance role players” (domestic spies) all require an active security clearance in addition to counterintelligence training.
In most cases, the potential legal risk is not a factor anyway; the type of people who seek work as domestic spies like the idea of being informants for Big Brother and they presumably like the income it generates for them.
The Silence of Witnesses
Witnesses to U.S. government criminality often become the targets of very aggressive efforts to intimidate them to remain silent – and to make an example of them so others will remain silent. This 4-minute trailer of a 2013 documentary film gives a good sense of the dangers faced by whistle-blowers, which include blacklisting, surveillance, and legal warfare.
Promotional video for Silenced: The War on Whistleblowers
FBI agents can legally order witnesses to keep their mouths shut regarding anything the feds choose to portray as an investigation.
For example, a National Security Letter (NSL) is an administrative subpoena used by the FBI, and it has a gag order attached which prohibits the recipient from ever saying anything about having been served with the letter. The U.S. government has issued hundreds of thousands of such letters, and they have been upheld in court.
Anyone wondering why landlords, neighbors, co-workers, and others recruited to participate in organized stalking never say anything should consider the possibility that they do not want to end up in prison.
The Silence of U.S. Political Leaders
In your high school civics classes, you probably learned about the three equal branches of the federal government. Presumably, they still teach that. In reality, the U.S. is now dominated by a massively powerful executive branch.
Officially, the White House is at the top of that branch, but the nation’s chief executive must share power as a practical matter with the shadowy U.S. intelligence community and its cronies.
On the one hand, the president can appoint – and fire – the heads of the intelligence agencies; on the other hand, the intelligence agencies can tap the president’s phones and create files on the president’s sex life and shady business dealings which can be used as leverage.
In theory, the U.S. Congress has oversight authority over the intelligence community. Again though, you need to distinguish between what it says in your high school textbook and what takes place in the real world.
During the 1970s Americans learned about the illegal counterintelligence operations (COINTELPRO) being perpetrated by the FBI – and the secret experiments, torture, and assassinations being perpetrated by the CIA (MK Ultra and other programs).
As mentioned previously, the official source of information about those scandalous programs was the U.S. Senate’s Church Committee – named after its chairman, Senator Frank Church (D-Idaho). One of the important facts about that chapter in U.S. history is this: by their own admission, the members of Congress had no clue what had been going on before Cointelpro was exposed by civilian activists.
Another important fact for perspective about Congressional oversight is this: the head of the Church Committee himself, Frank Church, was being spied upon by the NSA and never knew about it. Declassified documents released in September 2013 showed that the NSA was monitoring his overseas phone calls and cables.
Although they were familiar with espionage, America’s founders certainly could never have envisioned the vast network of rogue U.S. intelligence agencies and corporate intelligence-security contractors who now spy on Americans using advanced technology.
If the founders could have forseen the development of such a monstrous threat to democracy and privacy, they certainly would never have prescribed the current system of oversight.
The House of Representatives and the Senate each has a Select Committee on Intelligence. Between the two committees, there are essentially just three dozen people who are supposed to provide oversight of the U.S. intelligence community.
Even worse, those three dozen or so people are bound by secrecy oaths which legally prevent them from revealing their knowledge of any unconstitutional and immoral behavior that is being perpetrated by the nation’s intelligence agencies. Committee members can be prosecuted even for revealing information to other members of Congress.
Congress members’ fear of the intelligence community
As I mentioned in the Oversight section of this page, it is very possible that members of Congress actually fear the intelligence community, and avoid trying to control it for that reason.
In March 2014, two members of Congress made comments which strongly implied that such fears exist. Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) said this of his fellow senators:
“I think I perceive fear of an intelligence community drunk with power, unrepentant, and uninclined to relinquish power.”
The next day, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California) said this about disagreeing with the intelligence community:
“You don’t fight it without a price, because they come after you.”
Senator Chuck Schumer (D-New York), speaking on MSNBC on January 3, 2017, said this about what happens if a US president fails to show proper deference to his bosses in the US spy agencies:
“Let me tell you: You take on the intelligence community — they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you.”
Presidents’ fear of the intelligence community
More than a few people have been suspicious of President Barack Obama’s apparent subservient relationship to the U.S. intelligence community. Despite campaigning for the presidency as a progressive reformer, as president he embraced secrecy, drone strikes, mass surveillance, the attack on Libya, and aggressive prosecutions of whistle-blowers. Of course, it is very possible that Obama was never sincere about his views in the first place. Opportunistic dishonest sociopaths are common in politics. On the other hand, there might be a darker explanation.
One person willing to publicly comment about that is Ray McGovern, a retired CIA analyst-turned-activist. In June 2013, McGovern explained in a radio interview that he believes that President Obama fears the CIA:
“I’ve come to the conclusion that he’s afraid. Number one, he’s afraid of what happened to Martin Luther King Jr…..
….Now does he have any reason to fear the CIA? Well he sure as heck does. For those of your listeners who have not read James Douglass’s JFK and the Unspeakable, you need to read that, because it’s coming up on 50 years. The mystery has not been solved in the mainstream press. After reading James Douglass, who took advantage of all the previous studies, plus all the more recent information released by Congress, I’m convinced that John Kennedy was assassinated largely by Allan Dulles whom he cashiered as the head of the CIA after the Bay of Pigs, and a coterie of joint chiefs of staff, FBI, even some Secret Service folks who thought that JFK was being soft on Communism by back channel communications with Krushchev, that he was playing games with Fidel Castro…to repair the relationship, and worst of all he was giving Southeast Asia to the Communists. Now is there evidence for this? There sure as heck is. John Kennedy signed two executive orders just a month or so before he was killed. One of them said we’re pulling out 1000 troops out of South Vietnam by the end of the year, the year being 1963. The other said we’re going to pull out the bulk of the troops by 1965, we’re finished in Vietnam. That’s a matter of record.”
Local politicians’ fear of the law enforcement community
In their book L.A. Secret Police (2014), Mike Rothmiller and Ivan G. Goldman describe how the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) operated a lawless spy network for decades without having its crimes exposed. The LAPD used threats and blackmail to intimidate city council members – and the staff of the Los Angeles Times.
Here is an excerpt from the book’s description on Amazon regarding the nature of LAPD during the reign of police chief Daryl Gates (1978 to 1992):
“L.A. cops ruined lives and reputations, inflicted mindless brutality, committed murder and engaged in massive cover-ups. In Los Angeles, police corruption was much more than unmarked envelopes stuffed with cash. It was a total corruption of power. For decades LAPD engaged in massive illegal spying and lied about it. Its spying targets included politicians, movie stars, professional athletes, news reporters and anyone wielding power or those of interest to Daryl Gates.”
The reluctance of people in power to criticize others in power
A general rule among most people who occupy influential positions is to avoid criticism of others who are similarly situated. This is done for selfish career reasons. Most people who are in a position to expose corruption and incompetence rarely do so because they fear being perceived as a threat to others in power.
In a May 2014 article on the Intercept, journalist Glenn Greenwald called attention to a quote originally published in the New Yorker. The remark was made by Lawrence “Larry” Summers, who served as – among other roles – the president of Harvard University and the Secretary of the Treasury. He was speaking to Elizabeth Warren, a former Harvard law professor and current U.S. Senator.
“Larry Summers took Warren out to dinner in Washington and, she recalls, told her that she had a choice to make. She could be an insider or an outsider, but if she was going to be an insider she needed to understand one unbreakable rule about insiders: “They don’t criticize other insiders.”
The Silence of the Judicial Branch
Just like the members of the Congressional intelligence committees, judges on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court are bound by secrecy oaths which prevent them from revealing anything about the scandalous crimes by members of the spying industry.
A good example of how that plays out in America’s Star Chamber occurred in April 2013. In a rare instance of the secret FISA court not simply rubber-stamping whatever the feds wanted to do, the court ruled that the domestic spying activities at issue involved an unacceptable abuse of the Constitution.
However, the Obama administration decided that Americans should not be allowed to know what the Feds were trying to get away with – because publicly disclosing the nature of the unconstitutional B.S. they were engaged in would allegedly jeopardize Americans’ national security.
The last I heard, the fed’s were still trying to keep the whole thing under wraps (whatever it was).
The silence of the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union)
Picture yourself as an ACLU attorney. You have a job and a family and a safe comfortable life. Do you really want to go to war with some shadowy rogue intelligence agency Stasi bastards who could target you for extra-judicial punishment? Probably not.
It is one thing to be a legal advocate for a position which annoys people in middle America; it is another thing altogether to throw rocks at a hornets’ nest by exposing the modern version of Cointelpro.
As an organization, the ACLU is also inclined to err on the side of caution to avoid risking its reputation. They do not wish to be associated with anything that has not already been conclusively proven by smoking-gun official documents published in the mainstream news media.
That is especially true for something like gang stalking, since the tactics render the subject inherently susceptible to being dismissed as a tin-foil hat conspiracy theory.
Keith Forsyth, one of the activists who broke into the FBI office in 1971 and stole the secret documents that exposed the first verion of Cointelpro, said this regarding the need for the break-in:
“When you talked to people outside the movement about what the FBI was doing, nobody wanted to believe it.”
Remember: the ACLU did not expose the first version of Cointelpro, and they have shown no interest in exposing its current version. By all indications, the ACLU’s national office plans to wait until it is safe before they wade in.
Notably, the ACLU has never made any public statements that are dismissive of the numerous claims of organized stalking. Apparently it is simpler for them to just avoid the topic completely. If you write to staff members at the ACLU to inquire about their views on reports of gang stalking, you will find that they do not respond with skepticism; they just don’t respond at all.
As I mention in the “Tactics” page of this website, anyone wishing to gain the attention of the ACLU on the subject of organized stalking should probably meet face-to-face with members of a local ACLU chapter rather than trying to contact the organization’s national office.
The Silence of the American News Media
Organized stalking goes mostly undiscussed in the mainstream news media. I review the notable exceptions in detail elsewhere in this website, but as a rule, major corporate news agencies avoid discussing matters which the intelligence and law enforcement community do not wish to have discussed.
Primarily, the media’s silence on gang stalking can be attributed to laziness, incompetence, and cowardice.
As a general rule, major news agencies ignore conspiracies in the absence of incriminating smoking-gun type official documents. Also, they prefer to have such documents conveniently dropped in their laps by whistle-blowers – as happened with the Pentagon Papers, Cointelpro, and the NSA’s domestic spying.
Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh – who revealed the My Lai Massacre in the Vietnam War and the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib during the Iraq War – discussed the issue of documents when he was interviewed by the Guardian in September 2013. He said this of Edward Snowden’s revelations about the NSA:
“Editors love documents. Chicken-shit editors who wouldn’t touch stories like that, they love documents, so he changed the whole ball game.”
Intimidation of the press by the federal government adds to the problem.
To discourage reporting on issues it would rather not see publicly discussed, the U.S. government has aimed two weapons of intimidation at the American news media in recent years: surveillance of communication and prosecution of whistle-blowers.
In May 2013 it was revealed that two months of phone records of the Associated Press were secretly obtained by the Department of Justice, seeking the identities of confidential informants. Famed Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein said he believed the seizure of records was intended “to intimidate people who talk to reporters.”
Such efforts by the feds seem to have had their intended effect.
Following the AP phone records incident, journalists reported that trusted sources were becoming noticably more reluctant to provide information. AP President Gary Pruitt said that sources now “fear that they will be monitored by the government.”
A survey published in November 2013 by PEN American Center – an association of American writers dedicated to protecting free expression – found that many published writers in the U.S. reported that they self-censor on subjects such as military affairs, mass incarceration, drug policies, the Occupy Wall Street movement, and criticism of the U.S. government.
The survey found that 40 percent of the writers polled had either curtailed their social media activities or seriously considered doing so. In addition, 33 percent reported deliberately avoiding certain topics – or at least seriously considered avoiding certain topics – in phone or email conversations.
The survey also revealed that 28 percent had refrained – or seriously considered refraining – “from conducting Internet searches or visiting websites on topics that may be considered controversial or suspicious.”
Doing its best to chill criticism of the federal government, the Obama administration prosecuted more whistle-blowers than all former presidents combined. The Committee to Protect Journalists published an article on this disturbing trend in October 2013 by a former editor of the Washington Post. Some excerpts:
“Six government employees, plus two contractors including Edward Snowden, have been subjects of felony criminal prosecutions since 2009 under the 1917 Espionage Act, accused of leaking classified information to the press — compared with a total of three such prosecutions in all previous U.S. administrations. Still more criminal investigations into leaks are under way.”
“Exposing “waste, fraud and abuse” is considered to be whistle-blowing. But exposing questionable government policies and actions, even if they could be illegal or unconstitutional, is often considered to be leaking that must be stopped and punished. This greatly reduces the potential for the press to help hold the government accountable to citizens.”
In February 2014, Reporters Without Borders ranked America as the 46th best country for journalist freedoms – in between Romania and Haiti.
For a sense of why many reporters are afraid to investigate criminality by the U.S. intelligence and law enforcement community, I recommend watching this 3-minute video clip in which the Pulitzer prize winning Washington Post journalist Dana Priest describes the backlash she experienced – which included death threats – when she exposed the CIA’s use of secret prisons to torture terrorism suspects.
The “Someone would have talked” Fallacy
Investigative journalist Russ Baker disputes the common response to allegations of criminal conspiracies by covert operatives in the U.S. government – namely, that such claims are not plausible because “someone would have talked.”
“…whistleblowers are quickly discredited, suppressed, or worse. From time to time people even come out of the national security establishment to testify to such wrongdoing, but they almost always pay a heavy price –which of course discourages others from bearing witness.”
Among the examples cited by Baker is the case of John Kiriakou, a former CIA official and whistle-blower who revealed that the CIA tortured prisoners as part of its official policy. Kiriakou lost his job and was sentenced to 30 months in prison.
“Almost nobody talks. And for good reason. Just ask John Kiriakou.”
Daniel Ellsberg, the whistle-blower who famously revealed the Pentagon Papers, makes exactly the same point:
“Since wrong-doing virtually always requires both secrecy and lies, and further secrets and lies to protect the secrets and lies,
the wrongful operation-especially in a regime that approaches democracy–is commonly highly vulnerable to a breach of secrecy by any one of the many who share the secret. Yet typically in the national security field (and to a striking degree even in corporate and private associations without a formal apparatus of secrecy) even the “weakest links” do not break. No one tells.”
Failure to Connect the Dots
Another factor which helps explain the relatively low-profile of organized stalking in the news media is a failure to recognize a common thread between various related news reports. The most important of these articles and broadcasts are listed in the “Published News Reports” section of this webpage.
In 2004 the PBS News show NOW featured an episode about signs of a possible re-emergence of Cointelpro “as a result of the relaxation of guidelines first put into place after the Cointelpro scandal investigation.”
Later that year, Newsweek reported that the Pentagon was quietly re-entering the business of domestic spying – “including recruiting citizens as informants.”
In 2007 the Washington Post Magazine featured a cover article about gang stalking which portrayed several of the self-proclaimed victims of the crimes as credible, and claims about the types of electronic weapons allegedly being used as plausible.
Several local news reports have documented police officers engaging in organized stalking for personal vendettas. In 2011 police in Stockton, California stalked the city manager after a break-down in contract negotiations. In 2012 a police officer was stalked by numerous fellow officers – from multiple jurisdictions – after issuing a citation to an off-duty police officer for reckless driving.
Both cases suggested that the police were familiar with gang stalking tactics and were unconcerned about any legal consequences.
To their credit, during 2013 at least two magazines – the Nation and CounterPunch – reported on counterintelligence operations (including psychological operations tactics) by the FBI and by private intelligence-security contractors against critics of corporations and asserted that Cointelpro has re-emerged.
Sources such as Democracy Now! have reported the emergence of a shadowy industry of spies employed by major U.S. corporations to conduct secret – and often illegal – counterintelligence operations. Such reports make clear that there is almost no oversight or legal accountability for these private spooks – most of whom are former or present agents of law enforcement and intelligence agencies.
Over the past decade numerous individuals have reported being harassed and spied upon by perpetrators whose tactics were largely identical to those used by the FBI and other intelligence agencies such as East Germany’s Stasi. Local newspaper and TV news reports about gang stalking claims have also emerged from across the country in recent years.
Viewed as separate isolated incidents and news reports, such developments are mostly not recognized as examples of a common phenomenon.
The more you delve into the subject of organized stalking, the more you realize that the scope of the crime and its extreme impact upon the victims warrants a very close look by America’s journalists.
Refusal to confront truths about deep corruption
Another obstacle to exposing criminality by government and corporate officials is an unwillingness by many people to face the reality that the institutions we count on to protect us are often seriously corrupt.
Journalist Russ Baker touched on this phenomenon when looking back at the 1991 book October Surprise by Gary Sick, the National Security Council liaison to President Carter.
As documented in the book, during the 1980 presidential campaign Ronald Reagan’s campaign chief William Casey made a secret promise to give military aid to Hezbollah in return for assurance that the 52 American hostages then being held by Iran would not be released until after the election – thus making President Carter appear weak.
As Baker notes, Casey’s deal was essentially an act of treason. Gary Sick explained in his book why this very serious scandal was basically ignored by the press and by the Washington political establishment:
We in Washington are accustomed to the petty scandals of Washington politics. However, there is another category of offenses, described by the French poet Andre Chenier as “les crimes puissants qui font trembler les lois,” crimes so great that they make the laws themselves tremble.
We know what to do with someone caught misappropriating funds. But, when we are confronted with evidence of a systematic attempt to undermine the very political system itself, we recoil in a general failure of imagination and nerve….
….Most mere observers are, therefore, very much disposed toward misbelief and are, therefore, willing to disregard evidence that is directly presented to them—and even to construct alternative explanations for events that seem just too distasteful to want to believe. This all-too-human propensity provides just the margin of safety that is needed by those who would dare to under take what would otherwise be regarded as just too immensely a risky undertaking to attempt.
A final thought on how cowardice and dishonesty keeps U.S. government-sanctioned crimes against Americans hidden from the public…
Holocaust survivor Primo Levi explained how it worked in Nazi Germany. No doubt something similar – although on a much smaller scale – applies today in America when people are enlisted to assist in various ways with “investigations” – or whatever the operations are publicly called. Anyone who encounters a corrupt federal, state, or local agent who waves a badge (and perhaps a National Security Letter) while requesting some Constitutionally-suspect assistance – and silence about the assistance – should consider the following:
“In Hitler’s Germany a particular code was widespread—those who knew did not talk; those who did not know did not ask questions; those who did ask questions received no answers. Shutting his mouth, his eyes, and his ears, the typical German citizen built for himself the illusion of not knowing, hence of not being an accomplice to the things taking place in front of his very door.”
16. Shining a light on the cockroaches
Gang stalking is conducted in secret because, like its predecessors Cointelpro and MK Ultra, it is illegal and unconstitutional. Stalking – described as such, or as “criminal harassment” or “criminal menace” – is a crime under the laws of every state in America.
In 1990 California became the first state to criminalize stalking. Within three years, all states had done so. Stalking is illegal because the vast majority of Americans deem it morally reprehensible and an assault on the basic rights and freedoms of the victims.
Gang stalkers know that most people – if they understood the crimes gang stalkers perpetrate – would regard them as the human equivalent of cockroaches, so the stalkers skulk around and ply their trade in the shadows.
They don’t have to worry about being caught and prosecuted however, because (a) their tactics are inherently difficult to prove legally, and (b) their crimes are supported directly and indirectly by people with power and money and government connections.
Even if you assume that some individuals targeted for gang stalking are in some way deserving of persecution, you should note that gang stalking is very different from “shaming.” The historical practice of shaming individuals had the imprimatur of the society. If gang stalkers had such a sanction, they would not have to conduct their activities in secret.
Instead, gang stalking is largely a game played by people who are wealthy and/or well-connected to the police state infrastructure. For their personal vendettas and agendas, they exclusively wield gang stalking as a weapon that is unavailable to most people.
Exposing what is happening is the challenge for victims of gang stalking – and for anyone who believes that America should be a constitutional free nation instead of a quasi-police state run by plutocrats and neo-fascist members of law enforcement and intelligence agencies.
The balance of power is completely tipped in favor of the perpetrators of organized stalking. Also, cowardice and careerism by politicians and members of the mainstream press make it unlikely that much help will spontaneously emerge from those quarters.
On the other hand, civilian activists managed to derail the FBI’s Cointelpro operations, so there is precedent for eventual victory by the good guys. Mind you, those activists had to break into an FBI office to get the documents which exposed the crimes, so a certain amount of courage is required.
A final point: the Internet is a game-changer; it has the potential to expose gang stalking and ultimately lead to the program’s demise. As I note in my essay “Gang Stalking and America’s Police State Government” on another page in this website, the digital public square is already filled with information and rhetoric which the government would prefer to censor but cannot, posted by Americans fed-up with the secrecy and abuses of power in the upper echelons of government and corporations.
Please do whatever you can to help expose the rot.
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.