In the Rearview Mirror: When You Think You’re Followed


How to know, what to do about it

by H. Michael Sweeney

This is an updated summary review of information (not excerpted) from my book, The Professional Paranoid: How to Fight Back When Investigated, Stalked, Targeted, or Harassed by Any Agency, Organization, or Individual (available in ebook, CDR, and hard copy)

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This post is a companion to a post on cell phone security made just hours earlier. Unless you want me to repeat that introduction, you should quick like a bunny hop over to and read it, first, as it sets the stage. I’ll wait right here…

Good. Now that we are on the same page, it seems pretty clear that if a person is being monitored in their phone calls, then there is a good chance they are under what’s called a full surveillance net. That means that in addition to your phones, everything from your mail and computer communications, and your travels away from home, not to mention everything you do in your home, including sex, are likely being monitored.

Only a Police State is paranoid enough to watch people like that… and perhaps voyeurs. One could argue then, I suppose, that sexually repressed people tend to be the ones who apply for and take these kinds of jobs with the intelligence agencies. Take a look at CIA spooks David Ferrie and Clay Shaw of JFK assassination fame, for instance. That may be why TSA has so many perverts groping people. I don’t know. Sorry, couldn’t resist.

Methods of being followed

Cover of "Enemy of the State"

Cover of Enemy of the State

Watch the Will Smith/Gene Hackman movie, Enemy of the State, and you quickly learn there are all kinds of ways: satellite surveillance, tracking devices, helicopters, cars, on foot, and even by microphone relay and telephone calls (where we left off). Now, with all that sophistication comes an associated cost factor, which tends to favor use of low tech except for the greatest of national security risks or fears. So you, as mere ‘suspect’ in some government imagined conspiracy to blow up your underware because you think for yourself and talk openly in an attempt to get others to use their minds, are more likely to be followed by car or tracking device than the more exotic means available.

Funny thing about tracking devices, though, is there is almost always a car following that signal. You won’t see it, but it’s almost certainly there. The purpose of the device CAN be simply to make and keep a record of your travels for later consideration, but usually, they prefer to be close enough at hand so that once you stop at a location, they can show up and see WHY you stopped… since the satellite isn’t going to be watching for them. So for my purposes, it’s the same as being followed by car.

The only difference is, you won’t see them in the rearview, but like the folks you do find there repeatedly, you will see them at destination if you are alert and can find a good observation post you can use with some useful patience. I’ve even found them there waiting for me. That was a fun story, just part of a five year running war with the paranoids, but I’ll save it for another time, perhaps. But other than them showing up like that, we need another way to know for sure.

How to detect being followed

First, how NOT too, would be more in order. Don’t keep looking for it, and don’t assume a car you see with great frequency is a bad guy. You are by and large a creature of habit taking the same routes to get to any given repeat location at roughly repeat times of day. So is everyone else. So I don’t get nervous because a certain rusty Chevy is within a few cars of me several times a week. Actually, I don’t get nervous even if I do think them following me, because I don’t want it known that I know. So I don’t spend all my time looking up at the mirror. If you insist on that, get a rearview camera ‘so you don’t back up over some kids,’ and glance at that furiously.

Just be aware of cars around you all the time, with NORMAL use of mirrors and glances out windows. Don’t be looking like you are on the lookout. Trust your instincts, and if you ‘feel’ like you are being followed, you may just be. At such times, or when you THINK perhaps a given car is just a little too familiar (or a driver), find something about the vehicle or driver you can identify later, and make a mental note, or a verbal note to a VOX (voice activated) pocket recorder, or a written note to a memo pad, or even a photograph. Note time, place, and descriptor.

The descriptor is going to be whatever thing is easy to recall. It might be a dent or rust spot, an odd paint job, a bumper sticker, or, where nothing else works, the license plate. Now there is a trick to remembering plates (more correctly, making them memorable) that I like to use when part of the sequence is alphabetic. RTU 035 is the plate of a vehicle associated with a CIA operative (more correctly, a retired Marine Forward Observer hired to ‘observe’ me by CIA).  I glanced at that plate and forever now can recall it by my memory trick.

Simply make up some nonsense acronym out of the alpha portion and repeat it to yourself a few times while looking at the vehicle, not the plate – you want to associate the plate with the color, make, model, etc., not some rectangular piece of metal that might be replaced at some point. So in my example, I said ‘Rat-Tailed U-boat 035, Rat-Tailed U-boat 035, Rat-Tailed U-boat 035.’  Done deal. Next vehicle, please.

You can do the same with drivers. I enjoyed making up names for them, too: Pug Face (looked like a boxer who didn’t retire soon enough); The Professor (very dignified); The Liddy Man (wore a Liddy mustache and similar hair line; The Cuban (you get the idea). You will often see these people in multiple vehicles over time. It really gets interesting when you see the same groups of people in the same cars others of the group had earlier driven. And above all else, the most important clue… when you see the same people or cars at differing parts of town on the same day… especially if in those groups. Been there, done that.

But I did also employ both audio and paper, and photographs, as situations allowed or required (such as when there is not a lot of time and the situation is fluid). At days end, I would compile these all into a database, and once a week, for those repeat offenders (that’s the important clue), I’d go down to the Department of Motor Vehicles and run the plates to see who owned them.

Can’t do that any more here in Oregon, they made it illegal. Most states won’t allow it unless you are law enforcement. No problem. Lots of friends and relatives in law enforcement. Don’t have any? Make it happen, but you need to become GOOD friends because to help, they risk getting into trouble. It’s very helpful if you are both politically incorrect, at least privately (cops don’t get very vocal about that in public, it tends to cause unemployment).

Benefits and reasons for detection

There are some serious reasons beyond merely confirming suspicions. Example: Amazing thing about the DMV reports was, for me, that more than half the plates were reported either as stolen, non existent, or blocked by law enforcement. Actually, they didn’t tell me the later part, they just said non existent. But all I had to do was lean a bit and read it for myself on their CRT screen. Point is, such reports give you a clue as to who is involved. If you don’t get a lot of stolen/non existing plates, then you are probably dealing with private investigators, corporate goons, or some kind of group of idiot citizens thinking themselves above the law. Else, its government of some kind.

In my book I go into a lot more depth with some intermediate steps designed to better identify your players, and to give yourself tactical advantages. In fact, overall, its one of the larger sections of the book, and its followed by whole sections on offensive and defensive actions that fit into any knowledge gained about who is involved. That’s because, when you know who, you know why, and when you know all that, you know their limitations and what to expect from them when you do X. You start to control events forcing them to react to you instead of you being a mere bug under an unseen microscope subject to their manipulations.

And, it talks about their manipulations, and how to deal with them. They will attempt manipulations, mostly to see your reactions as part of establishing a psychological profile (another reason for cameras in the bedroom, I suppose). So one trick I talk a lot about, is ACT, don’t REACT. Learn to control responses: consider if the situation might be observed and a reaction expected or hoped for, and then decide if you want to confuse their profile by acting differently, or not. Then ACT in the decided upon manner, forcing them to react to YOU (incorrectly react, at that).

The other tactic I discuss at length worth mentioning, here, is that sometimes it is valuable to deliberately blow their tail by letting them know you know they are there, and who they are. They have to report that to their superior and they and/or their vehicle need to be replaced. Very embarrassing and a great chuckle to be had by all. It should cause escalation of methods used to follow you to levels harder to detect, at least by the time you’ve blown two or three tails in a row. Ideally, you do not want to escalate to that point where you can no longer detect the next level, so you would stop using this ploy when you felt that point was near (for most people, that’s going to be the first level, so this will be a moot dialog).

But for others, it has great advantage, because the book tells you how to use that information to better determine just who is following you. For example, at one point I was able to determine it included bounty hunters working with Clackamas County Corrections, and was able to thereby identify the Corrections Officers involved, as well as eventually find the high Sheriff himself (some decades back, of course — the current Sheriff is not a known CIA in-place asset) was involved.

I happened to catch him unaware on video following me on foot near where I worked, and that allowed me to identify him from a coincidentally convenient interview conducted on TV that very week. Subsequently, I openly took pictures of him when he drove past me in a car with Federal plates (neat trick for a County guy, eh?). Never had much trouble with HIM after blowing his invisibility, and in point of fact, after filing a complaint, he ‘retired’ from his elected post. The bounty hunters relocated, too.

The escalation which followed (that was the purpose, recall)?  They advanced to use of trucks and vehicles belonging to and driven by employees of an electrical contractor which was later identified as a CIA front operating under 17 names in four States. So that told me my problem was NOT with the Sheriff’s department, but a much bigger fish. The whole story came out well in the end, as I was able to gain enough proofs to force them to stop bothering me, and even to pay me for damages.

Those proofs included not just my own problems with them, but documenting their spying on local government and high tech industry here in the Silicon Forest… letting themselves in wee hours of the morning past high security locks, using flashlights, and presumably, collecting and replacing recorded tapes. It’s all in my book, as well as another book, Fatal Rebirth, which better explains their growing paranoia since 1947 and on into the future. Ever heard of the Unified Conspiracy Theory? Check it out.

Then you will know why I make them so paranoid. Seriously, though; email me if you are having these kinds of issue: proparanoid at century link net.

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About Author H. Michael Sweeney

Author of privacy/security/abuse of power, Founder Free Will Society, PALADINs (Post Apocalyptic Local Area Defense Information Network)

Posted on July 20, 2012, in Abuse of Power, Crime, How to Get Help, Political Commentary, Targeted Individuals, Technology and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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