Front line activist, Charlie Grapski,(@cgrapski) appeared on a radio program along with two other activists and discussed the stalking and harassment they experience. They have named as trolls some of the people that this blog has reported, mainly, David Piercy and Greg Lirette.
The entire discussion is informative. I request that listeners pay special attention to the part of what the “trolls” hope to accomplish by making personal attacks and doxing.
The intent of those I refer to as internet extortionists is no secret. In 2012 during the George Zimmerman case, they came out boldly, dedicating themselves to “silencing” those they disagree with. Their racial ideologies are their driving factor, but anyone, regardless of their race, becomes a target if they believe in equality for all.
After the verdict in Zimmerman’s case in July 2013, the extortionists took to Twitter, targeting certain people and doxed them, their family members, contacted their places of employment, and made false police reports. With the killing of Michael Brown and forming of the Black Lives Matter movement, the extortionists have dedicated themselves to destroying that movement. Many live streamers went to Ferguson to record and report, and they became immediate targets.
You will be amazed at the lengths that the “trolls” take to reach that goal. The program can be heard by clicking this link.
Below is a transcript of a portion from the first hour.
HOST KEVIN JULIEN:
32:09 Stackz, I want you to give us just a couple of defining moments of trolling that you have experienced. How far have they gone, and what was the cost to you? That’s where I want to take this before I open this up.
STACKZ: 32:23 Yeah, so I think the first thing that I remember was, um, and so my trolling went from the internet to real life. And, this is basically how everything started, um, was I had filmed, um, we didn’t have any local live streamers at the time really. We had people that came in town for the first two weeks, and then they left. And, then we had a constant group of activists with about a number of thirty to fifty that kept vigil at the police department lot.
32:52 And, I had filmed what became known as like the “Ferguson Fourteen”, live streamed it with another activist named AnonCopWatch, um and had live streamed it. Um, and, a lot of these people that got arrested that night, it was bad. A. It was a lot of unjust arrests, but, um, and the interesting thing was, is, the cops came out and arrested every single Black person and marched around all the White people. So that was kind of interesting. But, we filmed that, and what happened is a lot of those people that got arrested became, um, national leaders.
33:28 Um, and so, as a result of that, that first live steam and the only one that I did, and I did it cuz nobody else was there, right? Um, and besides AnonCopWatch, both of us were doing it cuz you need that. Um, and, as a result of that, a police officer called my job, and uh, or text messaged my boss and kept trying to get ahold of him, and basically was trying to suppress my First Amendment rights, and was letting my, you know, my employer know that I was doing this, that I out in Ferguson, that I was tweeting about things, and that I was being viewed as anti-police.
34:08 And, um, so I called, you know, but he didn’t going into detail with my boss. He was kind of being creepy. So, my boss had sent me the number. I called him back, um, called him back and recorded him. And, um, got him to admit that he was acting in his capacity as a police officer, as a business liaison, and thought that my tweets were anti-police and anti-community-oriented. And, um, I posted that to Youtube. And, when I did that, the trolls just descended.
34:38 Um, in fact, my worst troll, MeKissableMe, she goes by MeKissableMe, um who like even like gets down to the grit of the make-up that I buy and posts about it. I mean, it’s just crazy.
34:53 Um, her first tweet, um, was the day after that police officer, after I had posted that video. And, her very first tweet was about me. Um, and, currently her bio says, uh, something like, um, “I’m going to say good-bye to you now because, uh, when you’re gone I won’t have an opportunity to. And, I’ll fat pack” because they like saying that I am fat. So, I’ve been, I’ve had her for over a year. So that’s, she’s memorable.
35:24 Greg Lirette is memorable. He created a parody, what he thinks is a parody account of me, um, which wasn’t. It used my bio, and it was very close to my user name. And, they, he was engaging with people like he was me and getting DMs from people like he was me. Um, and then he kind of crossed into some real life stuff, uh, you know, sending pictures with bullet holes through my name and, um, you know, harassing anybody that helped me. Um, basically posted, I believe (he counters) you know, and says it never happened,
36:03 but posted my schedule of where I was going to be at a conference in New Orleans, that had everything broken down by time. And, um, I believe as a result that I was robbed, um, kind of due to that or, you know, that somebody had had the opportunity to follow me from place to place. I was in the French Quarter, so I’m not going to, you know, say that I was at the conference when that happened.
36:23 But, um, and the person that actually came to help me ended up, uh, being trolled and her family harassed and all sorts of crazy stuff like that, too.
36:34 Greg’s a really good example, and, um, there’s probably eighteen to twenty women online that feel, like he, you know, like he’s crossed into real life for them. Um, he’s filmed himself going to people’s houses from Twitter. Um, you know, uh, threatening to drug people’s daughters and, uh, rape them and just all sorts of crazy stuff. And it’s very targeted harassment.
36:58 HOST: How real are these threats, Stackz, how real are these threats? I mean, you know, we’ve heard about these trolls, and what they say they will do, and what they make people think they are capable of doing. But, how much of these threats have ever been carried out?
37:11 STACKZ: Uh, I would say, I would say a good, uh, they’re very real. The threats are very real. The threat, to me, more has been, um, when things have actually manifested, is the trolls convincing other activists that certain things had happened or that, you know, I am, I had Candy, for instance, who is a very well known troll, you know, say things, convince other people that I’m somebody trolling activists. And, I’ve been jumped. I’ve been threatened to be jumped by quite a few times. Um, but, I’ve had friends that have, um, from the instant they moved from my house, they, um, from the instant they were kind of staying here to another apartment, um, somebody texted them and said, “How, you know, how was that?” Um, people have had their utilities turned off. Jobs have been called. Um, the terror is real. It’s real. People have lost (inaudible)
38:05 HOST: So, when we started off the show and started to talk about discord, uh, because, in particular, I’ve seen in particular groups whether it be BlackLivesMatter or BlackLifeMatters or StopConvictingTheInnocents, TheGuiltyAndTheInnocents, there are several other anti-police-brutality groups that I’m aligned with, uh, and I see them when they come on. And, what they tend to do, is they will post something that starts a deliberate conflict of interest within the group, um, and then have them arguing amongst themselves. Um, is that a regular feature that you have seen?
38:42 STACKZ: All the time. I mean, that goes on all the time, arguing amongst themselves, screaming at other people for this. Uh, you know, I think I’ve been accused of being half the people on Twitter which is interesting, um, you know, undercover. Um, yeah, I mean, so the discord’s very real. The terror very real.
39:00 You know, we have a police officer here that, here in St. Louis city, that trolls. Um, and he trolls under his badge number. And, um, he’s, uh, posted things to activists like, um, the statute that says, you know, “you can shoot an unarmed person” if you feel like they are a threat. Um, posted pictures of dreadlocks and said, “What critter did these come off of?” Um, eh, to me, he’s intimidated me and ask me how the cop that called my job was. He references me by my full name all the time, um, and engages with people that are part of a national network of really nasty, like in real-life trolling.
39:41 I’ve been swatted. I was swatted Baltimore. Um, somebody
HOST: What was that? “Swatted”? What is that?
STACKZ: Well, I,um, they, so this is an incident: We were out in public. But, um, basically, what had happened was we had media, we were working as media, and there was the curfew in place. And so, um, we were there, right in front of City Hall is where all media was congregating after curfew. You know, kind of like to do a wrap-up and rewind, and things like that. And, because we live stream and we live broadcast, um, one of the trolls actually knew where we were at. So, he repeatedly called 911 or, you know, non-emergency number and 911 and all sorts of things, and said that we were domestic terrorists and gave our description. And this is, did this quite a few times. And, um, what ended up happening was we were swatted basically. Uh, we were surrounded by National Guard that were carrying AR-15s, uh, the local Baltimore police, we were surrounded. I mean, so that, we were really put in danger there, because they’re looking for this, and, you know, here this person keeps referencing “domestic terrorists, domestic terrorists.”
40:55 And, that’s one of their tactics they love to use: is calling activists domestic terrorists. And, they just start labeling you as such. That also gives law enforcement a little bit more room to how they harass and monitor, track and
41:10 HOST: Sorry to cut into you there, Stackz, but, um, Dave ((David R. cohost)) I think that was a particular show that you missed, Dave. But, when we did the John Crawford show, we actually had John Crawford’s father on the show. You guys know John Crawford, right? You know the John Crawford story. Uh, he specifically referred to this swatting thing that had been going on out there for some time. And, and, what was done to John Crawford on that particular day was a form of swatting. Um, you get a guy who calls 911 and says, “There’s a guy in here waving a gun.” And, if you remember looking at the video footage, uh, when they run the video footage along with the 911 call where he was claiming that John Crawford was waving a gun at children as they were coming down the aisle. None of that fitted in, uh, with the video footage. There was never any evidence that John Crawford had ever approached a woman or her children or threatened or pointed a gun in their direction or even threatening words in their direction.
42:03 But, John Crawford’s father referred to that swatting, uh, thing. And, apparently, it’s been going on over in that stateside for about ten years or so, I believe. And it’s a very significant tool that’s been used in order to target. And, when you imagine that, uh, John Crawford was in an open-carry state, um, and still they arrive without even trying to verify whether there was a real threat taking place and shot him dead in, I think, it was 3.2 seconds. It shows you how serious the threat of swatting really is. So, what you’re really saying, Stackz, is that there is there’s a real element of danger attached to what these trolls will do, especially if they’re prepared to bring in a swatting angle.
42:47 STACKZ. Oh, yeah… go ahead
CHARLIE: What we’ve identified now in this conversation with STACKZ and you are two effects that trolls can have. One, as Stackz pointed out, they can often have an effect on our own community: that they see these allegations against one of us because that individual is being effective. Therefore, our community turns against them and starts to silence them and, therefore, make them ineffective which is one of the trolls’ goals.
And, the second is that they can pander to, uh, police and the terrorist era and the domestic terrorism claims and get official response, particularly from corrupt officials and corrupt cops, corrupt, you know, other officials.
43:44 Now, we, therefore, have to identify those two and others and find ways to neutralize them. Now, one way, I would say, is, for each of those, is 1. We have to begin addressing to our community how the troll game is being played and how not to become a victim, not of their attack, but of the effect of our attacks on others. We need to teach ourselves as a community not to take their bait, but in a sense, instead turn the tables back on them. And, it’s easy to do that. And, once you turn it back on them, they run and hide.
44:53 Now, as for the even far more dangerous, and it really is dangerous, uh, when they can actually get a response from officials (and they love to try). Um, the way you counter that, at least one very powerful way, is you exercise your rights to get the records. Don’t hide from it. You contact those very same police departments, and you demand all the public records that they have on how and who called about you.
44:54 Then, you see, they’ve created a paper trail. And one of their primary tactical advantages is their anonymity. But, when they call the police or when they contact a public agency or, like me, they call my probation or they call probation that doesn’t even exist or parole officer, which they’ve been doing this week, which is kind of funny. But, you turn around and you say, “I’d like all those records.” And, then you have who they are, and then you can begin taking actions legally, real legitimate legal actions to put a stop to their games.
45:30 HOST: I mean, the unfortunate truth is that just by their mere Twitter accounts or by their mere Twitter name, it’s very difficult at times to identify who they really are. uh, but
CHARLIE: Right. Well, like David Piercy who’s very, one of the key ones from Trayvon Martin to today, an overt racist. He’s got at least (inaudible) different accounts (inaudible) have been shut down. And, he just constantly creates new ones. But, it’s not fooling anybody.
45:58 HOST: Yeah. So how do you then identify a new account with an old troll?
CHARLIE: Well, there are ways. I don’t think we have time in this show to get into that. But, maybe in a future show we can focus on that. There are a number of different ways to do that, both overt ways and covert ways.
HOST: Right, okay.
CHARLIE: But, I would just say this: The obvious are the easiest. Just look to their (inaudible) when you start seeing (inaudible) accounts, you can pretty much rest assured they are the same person or they’re working from the same script written by the same person.
46:41 HOST: It looks quite similar, and I suppose…go on David
DAVID R.(Co-host) : (inaudible) and I don’t know if STACKZ and DM and Charlie, Anonymous is listening, too, (inaudible) I’m not sure if you have this experience, but some of your best allies are your followers. Now, when I say not everybody has really loyal followers. But my habit on the social networks is I always stay above the fray. I never use a cuss word. I never use violence. I don’t speculate on other people’s motives. I’m always polite. And, in fact, I’m known for that. That’s my kind of, uh, linchpin.
47:23 Now, what you can do is, when someone attacks you, as I’m attacked mostly by Hazburah (spelling?), certainly by the NRA. They attack me all the time. They religious Right me. Uh, what I do is I then post that person on my site, my Twitter, and I’ll say, “This guy is a Hazburah or this guy is a NRA person. Please tell him to leave us alone.”
And, you cannot believe, you, I’ll get like a hundred thousand impressions on that. I’ll get 5,000 retweets on that, and they shut him down. And, when you overwhelm a person like that, they do back up. So, don’t fail to use your allies to your advantage.
48:12 CHARLIE: Exactly, exactly, David. And, one of the things that we need to begin building are two things that work together: and that is a troll roll and a list of every troll that’s known and who they are and their multiple aliases AND a patrol that goes out there and identifies them and goes to the defense of those that are they’re on the attack of and turns the tables on them. And, that’s the community itself, not the individual being attacked alone.
48:46 DenMom: Absolutely, and If I may for a moment, I think this is something that pertains to a lot of people who aren’t so practiced, who want to be involved but don’t necessarily have the experience, don’t have the support personnel already that some of us do or have been building. So, if those systems can be put in place, uh, then we won’t lose good new people. Because the first time they get hit by something scary, they’ll have somewhere to turn. And so, some people, who we’ve talked about, have been themselves slandered and all that, uh, when they have that support network built in, then you’ve got a team of people who be like, “I know this person in real life. They’re legitimate. They’re doing good work.” You know, and it all builds into a monitoring refuge-providing, uh, system that can work both online and in real life, which is a system I’m trying very hard to build here.
49:37 HOST: You know, the funny thing is here, uh,
DAVID R. : Wait, I want to say something. Was that Stackz?
DenMom: I’m sorry, that was DenMom.
DAVID R. : Oh, that was DM. Okay, I’ll call you DM. Oh, listen DM (deutsch mark…laughs). DM, Listen, uh, please join my Twitter, and all of you join my Twitter, and whenever you get a troll, immediately message me (You can private message me), and I’ll put it on my 14,500, and we’ll rip them in half.
50:07 DenMom: That sounds delightful, and also, I’ll share with you some hashtags that we’ve been using recently to identify them so that they can be followed and easily collated.
DAVID R. : And, I’m also sending all of you a following on the Facebook messaging here. I’m sending you a few little things I use such as signs that say:
“I’m too busy to sign your autograph.”
“Do unto others as you do to yourself.”
“99.99% of the people on Earth don’t know who you are.”
You know, so reply like that, and it makes them go crazy, too.
50:42 DenMom: It truly does, and I think that’s, so much of this is that, in many regards, a lot of this is just people with way too much free time who have the opportunity to barrage people with nonsense, distracting people from the work by creating that infighting that is so destructive. I mean, I’ve seen so many of my movements destroyed more by infighting than by outside influence.
And so, when you can, you know, create distraction within the movement, that’s a thing. But, when you have these trolls, you know, and you can actually distract, disband, and disarm these people, then, all of a sudden, you can actually get your work done.
51:18 HOST: You know, that, that’s, one second, that is the most significant thing for me: is the damage that it does internally to groups, organizations, and activism. Is the damage it does internally to those who are not strong enough to withstand that pressure on their own.
Uh, can we go to, can I just that on to DM. So, DenMom, um, you’re, you like to consider yourself a role as a supporter in this. How would you support somebody, uh, and what would you consider to be good advice to somebody who is being trolled and wasn’t sure how to, how to manage this sort of new threat or pressure?
51:56 DenMom: Well, you know, I think, from the people that I know, the first time they’ve truly gotten hit, I mean, it happened outside this movement in another situation very recently to friends of mine who, um, oddly enough, they were very active. They were very public about a situation about a year ago and got almost nothing. But then, the men’s rights and (inaudible) shows up and piled on to just a nonsensical tweet that went out last week, and all of a sudden, they’re doxed on the chans, and they were completely overwhelmed.
52:28 And, uh, the fact is, is that they hadn’t even realized that I personally have the connections that I have. And so, I was just like, “Hey friends, tell me your story. If you need it dealt with, there are ways to to this.”
52:41 Part of my special skill set, and I think there are many people like me that just are under the radar, and we don’t know about them yet, have the electron cloud of talent in their lives, people with special skills, you know. Not to be overtaken about it, but, you know they’re built over some years, and networks of other people. So, if you need somebody with legal advice. If you need somebody who is very, very good at drawing people out and just keeping them distracted or learning their real identity, like somebody like Charlie. You know, there’s people out there like that.
53:09 The trick is that for some of us to, as I said, I am being anonymous on this show for the sake of people that I look after in my actually in real life situation. On Twitter, I’m public. You can come to me. You can find me. We’re starting a hashtag to collate these things. If somebody, if we can publicize these hashtags for the troll patrol type situation, then somebody who feels helpless and doesn’t know where to turn will have other people quietly monitoring that stream going, “Oh, that can’t stand.” Right? So it’s a simplifying streamlining process for accountability and for alerts because no one has to be alone online if they don’t want to.
53:50 HOST: Absolutely. And, the moment you’re working within a group, instead of trying to take this on, on your own, it’s best to alert someone that you’re working alongside, colleagues et cetera that this is going on. Is this something
DenMom: And that goes to all levels, if you don’t mind my just sort of jumping on that. Um, part of what I am trying to build right now is that where I come in, in my area, area geographically speaking, you know, I only do in real life things within a certain sphere based on my own limitations, right?
54:16 But, there are many things that can be done to support my work, when things that are happening in my community, my area. That someone can be doing the scanner monitoring or the watching, the mainstream news or whatever, so I can just deal with the people who are here and needing assistance or directions or a safe spot to go to or whatever.
And, meanwhile, if someone’s happening to be in Chicago or across, in the world somewhere, I can be doing that for them and use same-type uh, support services can be decentralized and work, not just online, but in real life as long as we create a point of access.
54:51 HOST: Alright.
54:54 CHARLIE: Now, Kevin, can I also jump in there to just tie some of that together. Uh, first thing is, again going back to what I said before about two ways to counter that. We, as a community of concerned citizens, have to neutralize their effectiveness at causing internal dissension amongst us by recognizing that 99% of the troll posts engaged as ad hominem attacks against the person, whether valid or invalid attacks, rather than the person’s ideas, statements or actions.
And, we need to learn not to fall victim to that kind of attack. We need to say, “Okay, whatever you say about the person, may or may not be true, but how does that affect their point?” And, we need not let their ad hominem attacks against ourselves, one of us, divide and conquer, which is their strategy.
Second, uh, it is amazing to watch the response of the trolls, when you turn the tables back on them, and actually use logic and facts to negate them. They whine and cry about being attacked. They contact Facebook, uh, Twitter and Facebook to have us banned. They claim that they’re being harassed. They, they, they, I mean, they block you. You know? Yet, they still write to you. But, they block
56:26 DM: They claim the victim complex while victimizing is the short answer, I think.
CHARLIE: And, it’s, it is just, and it’s pathetic. And, when they do that, the more people watching, cuz you, what people forget, 90% of the effectiveness of the discourse on the Internet is how you communicate, not to the active participants writing, but to the lurkers who simply step back and watch and read. And, that’s where the (inaudible) have their effect, and we can neutralize it.
56:57 DenMom: It’s also, if we create that sense of supportiveness and community, that there are, in fact, sane, right thinking people who have each other’s back so that people are following you, and they go, “Holy crap, I’m having a problem. Maybe, I should message this individual.”
57:17 STACKZ: Here’s a Sorry, you know, I had something kind of interesting happen recently. Um, so, you know, we’re kind of dealing, uh, we’re dealing with the troll issue. I don’t want to go too much into detail. Um, but, you know, so there’s several victims. There’s like eighteen to twenty. I mean, you know, the number could be, uh, the number could be rather large. And, you know, we went to local law enforcement, cuz that’s what they tell you to do. You’ve got to document this stuff, in case somebody gets killed, right? Cuz, I mean, those are the threats and, you know, this person has gone to people’s doors, and knocked on people’s doors, and, you know
57:47 HOST: Wait a minute. They go that far? They’ll even turn up on someone’s doorstep?
57:51 STACKZ: Oh, and, film themselves doing it and post it. Um, this particular individual has filmed himself with a gun, um, you know, talking about the Antonio Martin thing, and put it on Youtube. So, you know, um. Yeah, I mean, you know, um, and has been under indictment before. Um, and has been, or is currently under indictment for choking a woman. So, I mean, you know, you have someone who is really scary like this. And, this, calling people’s houses and threatening people, and threatening, “I’ll kill you, motherfucker.”
I mean, it’s just all sorts of stuff like that. And, so what’s interesting is, um, I tape those calls. I tape threats because I tape threats, and I have friends that have access to these things. And, I have posted them at times (inaudible) myself and actually somebody who’s a pro LE-activist, which is funny, became targets of the same person and formed a very special relationship. And, she got to the point where she was, like, trying to, they knew, you know, they knew who she was, your locally, She was taking my step and saying, “She needs help.” Like “She’s going to get killed. I don’t care what you think about her views, she’s going to get killed.”
59:00 And, um, one of the police officers’ response was to call this guy we were trying to make a complaint about and give him our full names and say, “They’re making complaints about you.” So, so, finally, you know, so, I taped those calls, and I posted the call which is what brought attention, um, you know, even your attention and, uh, larger broader attention to start getting some help with these issues.
59:21 And, one, um, they started troll (inaudible), “She can’t be trusted cuz she’s taping phone calls.” You know, “Can you believe she’s taping phone calls? She’s probably taping your phone call. That’s a snitchy thing to do, right?” So, that’s snitch jacketing.
59:36 And, then the other thing that happened, also, because this particular individual called the FBI and was pulled over by the police at the same time he was harassing me. He’s on the phone with the FBI, and he’s saying things like um “I dare you, m…f…ers” you know “I’m not afraid of law enforcement. Come get me. That’s a promise” And, then he get’s pulled over by Dallas Police, and he’s still harassing me and saying all sorts of crazy stuff on the phone, and nothing’s happening.
100:05 So, when I posted that call, we finally got somebody from the FBI that contacted the other victims. They didn’t contact me. So now they’re circulating, you know, “People are working with the FBI.“ And, so that’s another form of snitch jacketing.
1:00:23 So, even when you try and go to get help, right? Or, even when it starts circulating that you’re getting help, um, because ultimately, just because you speak out against police brutality doesn’t mean that they don’t have to do their jobs. Right?
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(David R. starts off the second hour by introducing two topics: freedom of speech and trolls using defamation.)