This book is for you if ...
What exactly is a snitch?
What makes snitches so dangerous?
PART ONE: Recognizing and Avoiding Snitches
FIRST RULE: Learn and practice good security consciousness
Recognizing a snitch
What makes snitches so persuasive?
"Mere" snitching vs active entrapment
Dangerous myths about snitches and undercover agents
What to do if you believe a snitch is personally targeting you
PART TWO: A Snitch Uncovered
If you believe there's a snitch in your group
HISTORICAL ways of dealing with known snitches
How do YOU treat an exposed snitch?
Repairing the damage snitches do
Beware of accusing someone who might not be a snitch
PART THREE: WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU GET BUSTED?
You may be pressured to become a snitch
Do NOT talk to cops. Period.
The police officer is NOT your friend
The Prisoner's Dilemma
Mindset: The common territory between snitches and victims
What happens if you refuse to snitch?
What happens if you become a snitch — and regret it?
What happens to you if you snitch and your friends find out?
The rest of your life if you do snitch
Appendix 1: The Reid Interrogation TechniqueTM
Appendix 2: Some Commonsense OpSec
Appendix 3: Line up a lawyer
Appendix 4: Other helpful resources
Rats! Your guide to protecting yourself against snitches, informers, informants, agents provocateurs, narcs, finks, and similar vermin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commerical-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
That mouthful means that it is okay to copy and distribute this booklet for non-commercial purposes as long as you attribute it to the original source. Feel free. Go for it. Have at it. Spread the word.
On the other hand, you may not alter or add to the text in any way.
And you may not reproduce or distribute any part of this work for commercial purposes, period. Do not do either of those things.
I intended to acknowledge the dozens of people who contributed to this book. Given its touchy subject matter, I figured I'd use only their online nyms, not real names. But, sadly, almost everyone I asked responded, "Don't mention me!"
Such is the nature of the police state.
So the only contributors credited anywhere in the book are those who wrote items especially for this project or whose comments on my blog, Living Freedom I reprinted here. Their nyms appear with their contributions.
Despite the lack of credits, this book was truly a collaborative project. Contributors included lawyers, former cops, security specialists, political activists, members of the drug culture, business executives in "sensitive" fields, outlaw bikers, and in a couple of cases people whose identities are so deeply secret that I couldn't credit them even if I wanted to. (To guard against the possibility of any snitch sympathizer planting misleading information, outlaws, former snitch victims, and lawyers checked the text after more "official" folk had their say. I'm relieved to state that, while many people added valuable information as the book grew, nobody in this very experienced crowd spotted anything false or suspiciously "coppish.")
Contributors came from all walks of life — from the ultra-respectable to the underground. All shared the same goal of helping non-violent people save themselves from snitches and — hopefully, someday — ending the corrupt and evil "snitch culture." Once I pulled the book together with all that help, an anonymous proofreader and a friendly layout artist took it from there. There are two people I am allowed to credit: cover designer Keith Perkins and illustrator Travis Halverson, whose "no rattin'" drawing you'll find at the end of the book.
Each and every contributor was a volunteer. This book couldn't have happened without them.
This book is for you if ...
You are a non-violent person engaged in any activity that may be controversial, illegal, or merely "sensitive" or unconventional. These days, anything out of the ordinary can make you a target.
Some people who could use this book:
It doesn't matter where you fall in the political spectrum or even if you're apolitical. If police might target you or your activities, you need to understand how snitches could mess up your life.
This book is NOT for you if ...
You aim to commit violence against innocent people. In that case, reporting on you isn't snitching, it's self defense.
What exactly is a snitch?
There are a lot of different types of snitches. We could write an encyclopedia defining them. But we're going to keep this simple.
For purposes of the book, a snitch is anybody who inserts him- or herself into your non-violent activities on behalf of government. "Government" may mean local cops. It could also mean the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, or a host of other state or federal agencies. It's absolutely mind-boggling how many seemingly innocuous agencies these days have arrest powers, armed enforcers — and snitches employed in sneaky sting operations. And thousands of them use snitches.
There are two common categories of snitch you need to look out for:
These aren't the only types of snitches. For example, there's also what we'll call the"accidental snitch" — though idiot snitch might be more appropriate. This is the person who simply can't keep her mouth shut about illegal or controversial activities. Cops lovethese guys! They don't even have to threaten them, pay them, hire them, train them, or gain any leverage over them. They just sit back and listen to them reveal secrets.
Then there's the type of snitch the British call a grass and old American gangsters might have called a stool pigeon. This is a person who blabs to cops or other government agents after you (and probably he) have already been arrested. This person isn't going to interfere with your activities; that's already been done. He's "only" going to give sworn affidavits and courtroom testimony against you, justifying it as a means of saving his own skin. There's not much you can do about this person. By the time you learn one of your former friends is a "stoolie," it's too late.
There are vengeance snitches — people who turn on friends and associates after having a falling out or not getting their way. There are jailhouse snitches — either deliberately planted in your cell after you've been arrested or just opportunists who happen to be there and are willing to share whatever you say (or make up lies about things you said).
Each and every one of these people is a betrayer of friendship and trust. All of them are just plain rats — and they're as welcome in the company of good people as rats are in a pantry.
To keep things simple we're going to call them all snitches — though we'll differentiate when we need to help you look out for specific problems.
What makes snitches so dangerous?
Snitches are everywhere and their use is growing. In many cases, genuine police investigations into actual crimes are almost a thing of the past. Government agents just round up some snitches, get them to lie or arm-twist them into spying and — voila! — an instant and easy case against virtually anyone they want to target. Sometimes they get everything they need from some anonymous person who makes false accusations via a tips hotline.
Snitches (and cops) lie all the time and get away with it. So do prosecutors and virtually all government investigators. Good luck "proving your innocence" if some liar says you were part of a drug deal, laundered money, plotted to blow up a bridge, or asked him to help you murder somebody. Never mind that, in our legal system, the government is supposed to have to prove your guilt; that's become a quaint notion.
Snitches damage individuals, organizations, and movements even before they actually rat on anybody. The mere fear of them destroys trust, friendship, and cohesiveness. Some are deliberately inserted into groups to cause exactly that sort of chaos and dissension.
They tarnish otherwise legitimate political movements. When the media reports that members of Group X or Movement Y have been caught running drugs or guns or plotting to dump toxic chemicals in a reservoir, guess what sticks in the public's mind — your legitimate goals or the "fact" that you're a bunch of terrorist whackos? Later, when it comes out that the entire plot was a fiction created by an agent provocateur who got a few marginal members to go along with a scheme the government itself cooked up, hardly anyone notices. All they think is, "Oh, Group X; yeah, they're a bunch of violent loonies. Thank God the FBI saved us from them."
A fact to remember
This book could help you avoid becoming the victim of a snitch. It could even help you avoid being pressured into becoming a snitch yourself.
But there are NO guarantees. Snitches are effective precisely because they're so hard to detect.
Snitches prey on the naive and unsuspecting and on misplaced friendship. No book is a substitute for common sense and healthy skepticism. You have a brain: USE IT.
You have a gut. When it tells you you're in danger, BELIEVE IT.
They send people to prison.Sometimes innocent people. Often the victims of snitches have committed "crimes" that are much less serious than those of the snitch himself. A snitch is often either a real scumbag who's in the pay of police or a formerly decent person trying to save herself (or family members or friends) from a long prison sentence by getting others to commit crimes.
They may literally cost you your life, your fortune, and your sacred honor.Not to mention your family, your freedom, your friends, your job, your savings, and your reputation. And don't imagine that "mere" innocence will protect you. The more innocent you are, the more you're likely to be blindsided and hurt by one of these betrayers — because innocent, naive people make easy targets.
They corrupt entire cultures. Think of East Germany under the STASI or the old Soviet Union. Literally husbands couldn't trust their wives. Parents couldn't trust their children. Brothers couldn't trust brothers because so many were reporting to the state. Now, some countries that knew the horror of snitch culture forbid or limit the use of snitches. At the same time, formerly free nations are relying on snitches for everything and encouraging every moron in the land to "see something and say something."
Recognizing and Avoiding Snitches
Learn and practice