About Covert Harassment

Leah Remini and Mike Rinder, former senior executive for the Church of Scientology

In 2016, the Arts & Entertainment television channel introduced a new series, Scientology and the Aftermath, featuring actress Leah Remini along with a team of former high-ranking Scientology insiders.

Viewers are shocked to discover the extent to which the church goes to implement a total life destruction scenario upon those it considers to be it’s enemies. “Fair Game” is what the church of Scientology calls this practice. Enemies include former members — like Remini herself — who attempt to expose the church’s harmful practices, as well as journalists and others who dare speak out against the church.

What we see unfolding is a classic example of covert harassment practices. Slander campaigns (in one case, 25 libelous websites were put up in order to discredit one individual), workplace harassment — causing victims to have trouble finding and keeping employment — stalking in vehicles and on foot by many persons, rummaging through trash for intel, and installation of cameras throughout the neighborhood to monitor the person’s coming and going.

In one case, church members actually moved in next door to the victim in an attempt to intimidate and harass. And in most cases church officials attempted to separate victims from family members.

This is a classic example of covert harassment protocols being used by an organization to intimidate and silence perceived enemies. But covert harassment is also used by wealthy individuals.

Harvey Weinstein arrested

In October of 2017, The New Yorker Magazine ran an exposé on Hollywood film executive Harvey Weinstein, who sexually assaulted 87 women over a period of 30 years and managed to keep all of them from speaking out against him.

Taking advantage of client-attorney privilege (a client’s right to refuse to disclose and to prevent any other person from disclosing confidential communications between a client and their attorney), Weinstein prompted attorneys to hire private investigative firms Black Cube and Kroll to stalk and harass his victims into silence so they would not go public with their claims or take him to trial.

The PI firms’ activities left no physical evidence. But through constant and varying forms of intimidation, one by one, Weinstein’s female victims were ‘neutralized’, and none came forward until Ronan Farrow and his fellow journalists performed their investigation into Weinstein.

Journalist Ronan Farrow

But the harassment wan’t contained to Weinstein’s sexual assault victims. In February of 2019, Ronan Farrow stated the following on The Daily Show:

“There was intimidation, there was a system designed to shut down these stories; and that affected not just me but a whole range of brave journalists going up against this thing… the moment you find yourself deciding, do I go home tonight — because I’m getting staked out and if I do go home, I go in with my keys and I’m looking under the bed and pulling back the shower curtain and am I crazy or is the story stranger than fiction? And as it turns out, what we were able to break, is that he (Weinstein) was hiring former Moussad agents — combat-ready operatives — that were in fact following people around using false identities.”
~ Ronan Farrow

The exposé was a rare unveiling of a system that has been cultivated over decades, used by the powerful to silence and harm those they oppose.

Covert harassment can be defined as set of protocols whereby a victim is harassed in covert ways. The hallmark is criminal activity that is difficult to detect and hard to prove. Below are some standard practices. This list is by no means all inclusive:

– Slander campaigns
– Illegal Surveillance
– Stalking by multiple persons
– Coordinated harassment
– Hacking
– Noise campaigns
– Electronic Weapons
– Home and vehicle break-ins

Some of Weinsteins’s
#MeToo victims

The result of these practices is deep violation of a victim’s privacy and erosion of their mental and emotional well-being (by inducing anxiety, fear, and paranoia). The psychological attacks are often not apparent to others and leave no marks by design. Consequently, victims often suffer in silence, with little or no emotional support.

Though the tactics used in covert harassment are illegal, they are hard to prove and even harder to prosecute. When victims provide law enforcement with evidence, their concerns are all too often ignored.

The Weinstein scandal and Scientology and the Aftermath have made the concept of covert harassment known to millions of Americans. However covert harassment is a growing epidemic in the United States that most had not heard of before these revelations.

Department of Justice Statistics

A 2009 report by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, titled Stalking Victimization in the United States, reveals that of the more than 3 million stalking victims in the United States:
– 448,557 were stalked by 3+ people
– 205,446 were being stalked electronically (including hacking of devices and use of smartphones).

Getting relief is not easy, and for most victims seems an impossible task. In almost half the cases (45%), the police did not even file a report when told of the crime. For 71% of those who reported the stalking to the police, the stalking remained the same or got worse.

Remember, this was in 2009, over 10 years ago now. These numbers have more than likely at least doubled. And most stalking victims in general do not report the crimes to law enforcement. More so for victims of covert harassment, who are sometimes dismissed or misdiagnosed by mental health professionals.