My all time favorite death threat, sent from a proxy server in Germany, was “Somebody ought to shove a little steel in you.” What I liked was not the originality of the sentiment – lots of people want to stab me – but the onomatopoetic alliteration, which I thought was absolutely inspired. The repetitive esses actually sound like a knife going into my chest. It reminded me of Robert Herrick, the prolific 17th-century English poet who may best be known for the phrase “Gather ye rosebuds while ye may” and a brief poem about a woman taking off her clothes which, when read aloud, sounds to some people like a woman taking off her clothes.Whenas in silks my Julia goes, Then, then, methinks, how sweetly flows That liquefaction of her clothes. Next, when I cast mine eyes and see That brave vibration each way free; O how that glittering taketh me!
I never decided whether the threat came from an ATF agent or someone in the FBI or Homeland security. I am inclined to think it came from an FBI agent because more of those guys went to brand name universities so more of them might know the idea of onomatopoeia. I am at peace with that particular threat anyway. There have been many more since. If I was going to worry about a threat I would be more inclined to worry about the guy who knew I knew who he was but who went ahead anyway and told me, more than once, that he was going to come through my door in the middle of the night while I was asleep and light me up and I wouldn’t “be able to do anything about it.”
One reason why this site should better known than it is, is because it tends to piss off the wild eyed pistol wavers. What makes it interesting is that about half of those have taken a solemn oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. It is one of the mostly invisible burdens of being Rebel. T-Dogg is as good a place to start with that as any.
Most long time readers and friends of this page know about T-Dogg but he was a long time ago.
In 1996, a little known rapper from New York named Timothy Blair, also known as Tim Dog, also known as T-Dog was enlisted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives as a confidential informant and agent provocateur. T-Dog had some relatively minor drug and gun charges and in return for working for the ATF those charges were dismissed. In almost five years of looking, I have never been out to find out if T-Dog was paid and if so how much. His handler was a young and enthusiastic agent named John Ciccone. And, so there was an “East Coast-West Coast Rap War” and a couple of guys named Tupac Shakur and Christopher “Big Papa” Wallace got snuffed.
Timothy Blair was reported to have died about eleven months ago. The death was faked. Timothy Blair is now known as somebody else. The ATF is very successful at covering up their crimes.
However, in early 2009, when this site was newer and I was less used to the police intelligence-counter intelligence game, a commenter named T-Dogg appeared on this site.
From the beginning, the commenter was anti-Mongols, pro-Hells Angels, and seemed eager to force a showdown. Guess who made the following comments on The Aging Rebel on June 29, 2009. Go ahead, take a wild guess.
With most of the real Mongols retiring or being kicked out during Doc’s rise to power and Doc’s no- existent operational security, Doc had completely softened the Mongols for infiltration. When only 1% or so of your membership are actually a real outlaw bikers and not just some gangbanger who thinks that wearing a vest with a 1% patch and MC on it make them a biker, it is pretty easy to see how Billy Queen slipped in. I have seen a couple different documentaries on Queens infiltration which showed some of the surveillance footage of Queen interacting with Mongols during his investigation. I can’t believe those guys actually bought that half-retarded hillbilly’s act. Any real 1%er would have been on to him right away. Luckily for the Mongols, Billy Queen was only average as an undercover agent and John Ciccone was not nearly as smart and wily as he is now and the Mongols escaped relatively unscathed.
That’s right I said John Ciccone. I hate giving cops any sort of recognition, but John Ciccone has chosen the lifestyle he believes is for him, he is committed to it and works hard towards what he believes is the greater good and appears to have maintained some integrity.
While I may not agree with his lifestyle just as he doesn’t agree with mine, I can respect his commitment and dedication. The ATF has been infiltrating outlaw motorcycle clubs for a long time and there is a long list of clubs that have been infiltrated. That said, outlaw motorcycle gang investigation has seen major milestones in the last 10 years, all occurring on the west coast. Starting with the Queen investigation which seem completely when compared to the tactics used by the ATF during Jay Dobbins infiltration of the Hells Angels a few years later. Queen’s initial infiltration of the Mongols resulted in relatively minor charges and sentences for those involved. Dobbins infiltration of the Hells Angels dubbed Operation Black Biscuit, while another investigative milestone it was an embarrassment, with allegations against the case agents, undercover agents and informants of misconduct, use of illegal wiretaps and recording devices, falsified affidavits etc. In the end only a handful of defendant plead guilty to minor offences with the most significant sentence amounting to less than 10 years time. While John Ciccone was not the primary case agent for Operation Black Biscuit, he was involved and consulted throughout the course of the investigation. It appears that Ciccone has studied and learned well from these milestone operations as well as each that he’s worked prior because Operation Black Rain against the Mongols is a work of art compared to any prior outlaw motorcycle club infiltration.
By studying the indictment resulting from Operation Black Rain as well as the search warrant affidavits it is clear that the ATF and Federal Prosecutors tactically planned their investigation with the intent of dismantling and eliminating the Mongols. Thus attack the trademark. The Mongols logo is trademarked. By establishing that the trademarked logo and club name Mongols were used by the club and it’s members as a tool of intimidation to further the criminal enterprise, the Feds will be able to seize control of the Mongols trademark permanently and completely bar the unauthorized use of the Mongols Motorcycle Club name and logo.
Currently the Mongols are not able to fly their patches in public without risking them being taken by law enforcement. Should the Fed’s prove their case, the Mongols trademark may forever be forfeited. As stands now with all the pleas to count one of the indictment “Racketeering” already entered by defendants in the case, it appears the government me be able to start pulling patches in the near future.
Having identified their goal, analyzed the prosecution strategy for the anticipated charges, and planned their investigation around these factors, the ATF went to work gathering evidence. The Mongols made things easy for the ATF. Three ATF agents obtained membership quickly and easily in California Mongols chapters. Even more conveniently, one ATF agent was introduced to the Mongols Reno chapter and given membership without prospecting . To make things even better each of these ATF agents who had become full patch Mongols members also had introduced their “old lady” who was in fact an ATF Agent as well into the club.
Doing their part to help destroy the club, unwitting Mongols members sold methamphetamine and guns to these “Undercover Mongols” on a regular basis. Unlike prior cases the buys were not for a few grams or ounces here and there. Rather, for 2 years, ATF agents posing as Mongols regularly bought 50+ grams- 300+ grams methamphetamines and guns from unsuspecting Mongols. They listened to Mongols confess to crimes such as robbery, assault and murder and in several cases, witnessed these crimes being committed first hand. During each buy, ATF agents were careful to note whether or not the member was wearing a set of Mongols colors, jewelry, belt buckles or clothing bearing the Mongols trademarked logo when the deal took place. This information was then included in each count of the indictment and is being used by the government to prove that the logo and name are a tool of the criminal acts.
Here we are today, watching one of the most elaborate undercover operations ever works its way through the criminal justice system in the form of a groundbreaking indictment that could, for the first time allow the government to pull a motorcycle clubs colors and shut that club down. I’m sure there are some patch holders reading this that think “ fuck that, if the feds try and take my patch, I’ll tattoo them on my bike and ride around with no shirt! ” I would completely agree with you, but the difference is we are real patch-holders.
Yeah that was my guess too. Using several forensic techniques I still won’t discuss – although they worked better then than they do now – I was able to verify that T-Dogg was John Ciccone who had been the case agent on Operation Black Rain. At the very same time that Ciccone was debriefing former Mongols President Ruben “Doc” Cavazos in the basement of the Montebello, California police station, T-Dogg wrote:
That said, these fucking rats (Doc are you one of them? I bet you are) can’t do time because Doc has made too many enemies for the Mongols and rats know that the Feds will buy you a knew life if you’ll tell them what they want to hear so anyone going to trial is pretty much fucked if you had anything major to do with any of the 25-35 bitches that have turned rat and taken plea deals.
That one was a strategic lie. Ciccone and Assistant United States Attorney Christopher Brunwin were trying to stampede the Mongols into mass plea deals. The only real coverage of the case was here. So, if Ciccone – and the Attorney General of the United States or however high this Nixonian conspiracy went – could co-opt the coverage of the case here they could totally control any news about the case. T-Dogg sagely advised Rebel’s readers:
And to all the real patch-holders I wish you a life filled with loyalty, honor, respect and brotherhood. Finally, to any citizen who happens to read this, I hope it has caused you to think a little more about the bigger picture and realize that not all 1%ers are uneducated, drug dealing murdering rapists as law enforcement and the media portray us to be, keep an open mind and remember that after the Fed’s destroy our lifestyle, it will be yours next.
The T-Dogg thing presented me with a journalistic conundrum. It never occurred to me when I started the site that government bureaus would attempt to propagandize my coverage. Finally, after Ciccone personally started threatening to violate Mongols on probation for arguing with T-Dogg on this website I called the guy out. That led to this interesting tirade:
Put down the crack pipe Rebel, you delusional punk bitch!!!
You not only incorrectly called me a cop but you accuse me of being that faggot munchkin bitch Ciccone. Get your facts straight bitch before you post them on your page! I’m not a cop, not a snitch and certainly not John Ciccone, never have been and never will be! You had no problems quoting me accurately and I stand by my opinions that I expressed in those posts. Those opinions are based on years and years as a patch-holder, a lifetime of experience which includes being tormented for a time by that faggot Ciccone when he was after us, a knowledge of the criminal justice system and RICO and the careful consideration of the opinions of other knowledgeable individuals. It is definitely not the opinion of Ciccone. In fact, if you go back and read my posts, I’m pretty sure I blasted not only him but the ATF and their Black Biscuit case.
Bottom line bitch, get your facts straight before you start calling people cops! This ain’t the first time you’ve claimed Ciccone was posting on this site and it makes me wonder how many times before you wrong? I know you’ve got a tiny little excuse for a dick but and it may help you feel a little better by calling people cops when they disagree with your opinion or are not pro-Mongol but do some research before you post so you don’t trash your credibility like you just did because for a lot of us, myself included it was your perceived credibility that made your site worth reading.
Finally, next time you feel like going for a ride maybe you’ll grow a set and come and see me and we can have this conversation face to face. Until then fuck you and your fucking mother!
I invited Ciccone to meet me at a hotel in San Diego. He never showed up. Although I did notice that hotel was surveilled.
Look, Ciccone. I am pretty sure I got you cold, okay? I always know more than I say. I do not underestimate you. You should not underestimate me. Everybody deserves their respect. I am not going to argue with you about it.
Listen here you know nothing, no dick faggot if I’m Ciccone PROVE IT!!!!!! You claim to know more than you’ve let on, then PROVE IT!!! We both know you can’t and rather than be a man and apologize and admit you called the wrong person a faggot munckin ATF bitch, you just burry your head in the sand and say you don’t want to argue.
So Rebel you cunt, I say again…Grow a set, be a man and let’s see some evidence that I’m Ciccone!!
Listen here Rebel, you know nothing, no dick faggot if I’m Ciccone PROVE IT!!!!!! You claim to know more than you’ve let on, then PROVE IT!!!
We both know you can’t and rather than be a man and apologize and admit you called the wrong person and a patch-holder, a faggot munckin ATF bitch by saying I’m Ciccone, you just burry your head in the sand and say you don’t want to argue. Let me ask you this, has Ciccone ever gotten this pissed off when you’ve called him out on one of his Internet alias’s before? Pull you head out of your ass you cum gargling bitch!!!
So Rebel you cunt, I say again…Grow a set, be a man and let’s see some evidence that I’m Ciccone!! You ain’t got shit but your head up your ass..
Rebel is really Jay Dobyns and this whole site is just an intelligence gathering and monitoring activity by the ATF, don’t believe anything he says.
Like I said you ain’t got shit for proof other than some hearsay from an unnamed source who can’t give you any evidence. You and sled tramp are no better than the ATF, making unfounded accusations against people and then keeping the evidence secret with that self righteous guilty until prove innocent attitude. Then in a feeble attempt to make your statements appear credible you ramble out a bunch of nonsense and claim to have confidential sources. Rebel you bitch, your own words seem to contradict your argument. Hell, now you’re waffling and saying I might be Jenna McGuire or some other agent. How weak is that when you say you can prove I’m Ciccone but now you can’t decide who I am? You must be working with the ATF cause you evidence is as convincing as their bullshit. Heaven forbid when one of your sources provde you with bad info which you can’t back up that invokes a heated response from one of your readers and you have to apologize. Luckily for you this is the Internet because if we were face to face and you called me Ciccone, I would knock you the fuck out and cave your skull in with my steel toes.
Obviously I have made some pretty dangerous statements in my posts and if I was Ciccone and you actually COULD prove I was Ciccone you could become legend in the club world as being the man that cost Ciccone his job. Hell, I fully encourage you to send my posts to the DOJ and ATF with a nice little letter claiming they were written by Ciccone or even an unknown ATF agent and lets see what happens. You’ll probably make the excuse that you don’t want to cost yourself a source. But you and your source can’t prove shit, which is exactly why you haven’t posted shit for evidence, instead choosing to attack my use of punctuation and claim to have a “confidential source”. Hell, I am sure you are logging the IP addresses of the visitors to your site and so I’m wondering why have you not traced my IP address to see if it matches known government IP’s or even if the IP is from a part of the country where Ciccone is.
Well I have a reliable source and they say that you’re a convicted pedophile (you’re not the only one who knows how to do some research) who can’t get a real job because of his conviction so you sit at home on the Internet writing this blog and trying to pick up little boys on MySpace.
OK you’ve got me laughing my ass of now. We’ve both known you’re a liar and a coward but now you’ve kept running your mouth and gone so far to keep up your lies that you’ve clearly opened yourself up to a Libel suit by Ciccone and the ATF for knowingly and maliciously publishing false statements about Ciccone.
In a time where almost every major club has been infiltrated by the ATF in recent years and turning rat has become common as club members forget the true meanings of honor and brotherhood, there is no more inflamatory or disrespectful comment than to wrongfully call a patch-holder a cop as you did me. You could have handled this situation when I pointed out your error with a simple “I was wrong, I’m sorry.”
Instead you chose to be disrespectful and rely on your sources and continue to label me not only a cop but Ciccone, probably the most hated cop by the MC community. I have challenged you to prove that I’m Ciccone and you have failed to produce any evidence because you simply can’t since I’m not Ciccone, another ATF agent or a cop trying to stir the pot.
What I am is what I have always been, an educated man with an opinion that differs from yours. As a result of me expressing that opinion, you label me as a cop, John Ciccone. I denied this accusation from the start and demanded proof. I called you on your bullshit and told you I would meet you at the Hyatt. You’ve made excuses about not being able to meet me at specific times and kept your bitch mouth running, not once have you been a man and made the offer to print a retraction after we meet at the Hyatt. Seems like that would be fair. Instead, knowing you’re wrong about me being Ciccone and your credibility is shit, you do the smoke and mirrors dance the cops and bullshit media like you are famous for and write another bullshit piece to try and make your lies appear credible. Again, you claim you can prove that Ciccone made the statements I made and insisting that I’m Ciccone but offer no proof. How is that any different that the government not turning over the Grand Jury testimony or witness lists??
You’ve made libelous statements on this site regarding agent Ciccone and the ATF. Since we both know you’re a liar and have at least incorrectly labeled me Ciccone I have serious doubts now whether Ciccone has actually ever wasted his time reading this site, but if he does I would imagine that you will have a nice tort claim filed against you by Ciccone and the ATF, all funded by our tax dollars and all because you couldn’t be a man and admit your wrong. If that happens it will all come out in the wash that you were wrong and a liar.
The other alternative is the defense in the Mongols case will want to use these posts to impeach Ciccone during trial. To do that they will more than likely subpoena you and you so called evidence. The defense experts will scrutinize this evidence to authenticate it and when they determine the posts were made by me, not Ciccone or some fucking cop it will have been clearly established that you are a liar. On top of that, you may have pissed off some of the defendants in the Mongols case as you will have wasted several thousands of dollars of their money to pay for the attorney’s and experts who wasted their time because of your bullshit.
You see Rebel, the difference between you and I is smarts. You may understand punctuation better than me, but you’re fucking stupid. As offensive as some of my statements may have been, they were made about towards unidentified individuals who used Internet alias’s to ensure their anonymity. As offensive as my statements were, your actions to protect your anonymity by use of an alias allows my statements to be protected by the 1st Amendment of the Constitution. Unfortunately for you, your dumb-ass claims it to be fact that a well known, ATF agent who you’ve specifically identified as John Ciccone made potentially career ending statements and you can prove it. There is no 1st Amendment protection for you because you’ve identified a specific person. Oops.
You’ve made your bed and are going to have to lie in it. Hope that bed wetting problem is getting better.
This was a government policemen talking to an independent journalist. I have never attended journalism school but I am pretty sure it is not a situation for which even J-school graduates are prepared. The reality of modern journalism is that government agencies unabashedly use their power to infringe on the press freedom which is guaranteed in the First Amendment.
I took it as a warning to be careful about what I wrote and what I allowed to be said here. What might have been the most disturbing aspect of the T-Dogg episode, was the readiness of federal authorities to put men in prison because they read my words or because they had something to say about them.
It became clear quickly that I was writing samizdat, the old Stalinist term for “forbidden speech.” Women carried my words into prisons. Sometimes the slips of paper on which the words were printed were confiscated. Eventually, all of my books were banned in most state and federal prison in the United States.
A continuing goal of this site is to not get guys locked up. It is also an ongoing problem. Last week a friend of the page, a very bright, well educated and informed man who once commented here frequently and who is also on probation as a result of a blatant entrapment wrote:
I got dragged into my probation officer’s office with a cop there and the prosecutor on my case there via a phone conference call. I got chewed out and threatened with revocation as I was ‘In contact with known felons….’
I was violating the order about associating with felons and those of known poor character by posting on Aging Rebel. I was also warned that by suggesting individuals posting on The Aging Rebel were law enforcement that I could possibly jeopardize investigations if there were any going on and that in doing so, was in effect committing a crime of obstruction of justice.
All this was reported to the judge in my case – he did not send me to jail or revoke my probation, but I was punished by losing any chance of getting off of probation after serving 2/3 of it. I was also transferred from a less intensive mail in probation to a probation officer at the main office, and I have more rigorous conditions.
I was also warned around the same time by a PH that several people were pissed about what someone posted on there, claiming to be a dying PH with knowledge about George Christie. I told the brother I did not do it, and that I could prove it because I could guarantee that wasn’t posted from my static IP. I don’t know if he checked or not, but he told me he would appreciate it if I laid low and wasn’t posting on Rebel’s site so as to arouse suspicion about myself or potentially cause problems. The guys I know in a certain (not 81) East Coast club basically said they were laying low as well, and their PTB wanted their PH’s and supporters to shut up and not draw any attention.
Just an FYI. And sort of a warning about what they may do to you. Be careful. Be careful sir.
I thought the Christie reference in this correspondence was interesting for a couple of reasons. First of all, as many readers are aware, two federal district judges forbid George Christie, his co-defendants, their attorneys and members of Christie’s family to speak to me while that case was ongoing. Prosecutors in the case also accused Christie’s wife of talking to me and at what point accused her of being me. The same prosecutors also claimed that I was impossible to identify. Throughout the entire Christie case, which was by the way criminally corrupt, prosecutors and the FBI openly tried to frustrate my coverage. I believe the reason for that was that I knew the case against Christie and a separate case against another longtime Hells Angel named Dan Bifield and others on the opposite coast were both criminally corrupt. The official headwinds were intended to make sure I couldn’t prove that corruption.
But the Bifield and Christie cases highlight another burden of writing this page. It is not only the cops and prosecutors who distrust me. Some of the outlaws think I am a double agent.
Last September, after covering the Bifield and Christie cases, I began a book that is, loosely, a history of the last forty years of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club. I have always walked gingerly around the Angels. There are a significant number of club members on the West Coast who are convinced that I regularly exchange information with the cops. I don’t. I never have. I take pains not to give cops anything but I do speak to them. I speak to well known cops. I see them in courthouses.
A typical exchange goes something like:
“What up T-Dogg? What you working on?”
“You tell me first.”
I once described my relationship with Jay Dobyns as “Wiley Coyote and Ralph the Watchdog.” The truth is that very occasionally we are Wiley Coyote and Ralph the Watchdog on our coffee break. I once asked Steve Cook a question and he answered it.
But some West Coast Angels seem convinced that I regularly debrief with the feds and since the last book, Framing Dave Burgess, and the current book in progress are both very much about the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club the tension can be problematic. For example, there are three or four stories about Sonny Barger that I have sat on for a long time. One of them, Barger’s 911 telephone call has recently appeared in the public domain so you might as well listen to that call yourself right now.
I, like almost everybody, have always been an admirer of Barger’s. I haven’t written about him much. But three or four years ago I tried to put Barger in historical context and I said this about him:
I will never live long enough to know for sure, but I think Barger is one of those American frontier figures that pop up every hundred years. They are characters that America invents over and over because without them and the masculine ideals they represent there can no longer be an America. And America has chosen these particular men because in a certain light, remembered in a certain way, at certain times they have actually managed to be exactly who we all need them to be. Lives fly past but myths persist.
The first of these great frontier heroes was a man named Daniel Boone. He was born about 200 years before Barger. He lived to be 85. And six years after he died the American novelist James Fennimore Cooper wrote a book about him called The Last of the Mohicans. Until it was banished by the counter-culture the novel was part of the American canon. It is the tale of a self sufficient, resourceful, brave man overcoming red demons and the wilderness to rescue his kidnapped daughter. Every educated young American man was supposed to know it – as much as anything for its portrait of what an American man should be. Even now, the story retains the power to excite the American soul. Michael Mann directed the last movie version of it in 1992.
The last real, geographic frontier, the Old West, disappeared in and into serial episodes. The Silver Rush started in Tombstone in 1879. Doc Holliday died in 1887. John Wesley Harding was killed in 1895. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid moved to New York in 1902. A year later, a former Edison cameraman named Edwin S. Porter made the first movie Western – in New York City. The Yukon Gold Rush came and went in 1897. The last frontier hero, Wyatt Earp, went north that year to run a card game in Alaska. Earp died in the first fortnight of 1929 in Los Angeles. His pall bearers included the Western movie stars Tom Mix and William S. Hart. According to a mourner named Adella Rogers St. John, Tom Mix broke down and wept.
Barger became a public figure about thirty-five years after that. His first biographer, Hunter Thompson wrote in 1965: “In any gathering of Hells Angels, from five to a possible hundred and fifty, there is no doubt who is running the show: Ralph ‘Sonny’ Barger, the Maximum Leader, a six-foot, 170-pound warehouseman from East Oakland, the coolest head in the lot, and a tough, quick-thinking dealer when any action starts. By turns he is a fanatic, a philosopher, a brawler, a shrewd compromiser and a final arbitrator. To the Oakland Angels he is Ralph. Everybody else calls him Sonny….”
For all these years, Barger has had to live with that. He has already had almost as long a run as Earp. In a book published last year, ATF Agent Jay Dobyns gushed about meeting Barger:
“This was the first time I’d laid eyes on the man. He was around sixty-five, but looked to have the health of a vibrant man in his mid-fifties, a remarkable achievement considering the paces he’s put his body through over the decades…. For those who don’t know, this was the man – the legend, really – who molded the Hells Angels into what they are. It’s not a stretch to say that Sonny Barger is a visionary who essentially created the image of the outlaw biker as we know it.”
Now, on top of everything else, Barger has to live with that.
He cannot just be one of us. He has to carry the burden of epitomizing all of us. I have heard him praised by people who hate his club. The very best thing about Sonny Barger may be that he carries the burden cheerfully.
Probably a third of all American men can describe him. In person he looks younger than he photographs. He looks to me the same way he has always looked. He looks like Dennis the Menace grown old. I am certain that he must have a walk-in closet full of sleeveless tee shirts and blue jeans that are neither too new nor too shabby.
He has to know he is the biggest star in America. I don’t know how he lives with it. He is everything that a once in each century American hero should be. He is himself. And whoever that is, is close enough to the myth most of America still wants to believe. He is gracious, confidant and surrounded by men who would die for him. And, most astounding of all, there is not a paparazzo in sight. I think I spot two under cover cops. I think they are cops because they are the only people I see who look nervous.
The fact of the matter is that the greatest burden of being Rebel is trying to guess when I should tell the cruel truth and when I should tell the kind lie. Often, I do not know. As I once told Ciccone, I always know more than I say. It is probably the most basic problem in doing thoughtful journalism. I weighs me down sometimes.
Sometimes I just report the truth. It usually isn’t that easy. That’s what it’s like on this side of the website.