portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reposts united states

actions & protests | police / legal dnc rnc protests 2008

FBI Wants Informants To Spy On RNC Protesters

"This is all part of a larger government effort to quell political dissent," says Jordan Kushner, an attorney who represented Ganley and other Critical Mass arrestees. "The Joint Terrorism Task Force is another example of using the buzzword 'terrorism' as a basis to clamp down on people's freedoms and push forward a more authoritarian government."
FBI Wants Informants To Spy On RNC Protesters

Published on Thursday, May 22, 2008.

Paul Carroll was riding his bike when his cell phone vibrated.
Once he arrived home from the Hennepin County Courthouse, where he'd been served a gross misdemeanor for spray-painting the interior of a campus elevator, the lanky, wavy-haired University of Minnesota sophomore flipped open his phone and checked his messages. He was greeted by a voice he recognized immediately. It belonged to U of M Police Sgt. Erik Swanson, the officer to whom Carroll had turned himself in just three weeks earlier. When Carroll called back, Swanson asked him to meet at a coffee shop later that day, going on to assure a wary Carroll that he wasn't in trouble.

Carroll, who requested that his real name not be used, showed up early and waited anxiously for Swanson's arrival. Ten minutes later, he says, a casually dressed Swanson showed up, flanked by a woman whom he introduced as FBI Special Agent Maureen E. Mazzola. For the next 20 minutes, Mazzola would do most of the talking.

"She told me that I had the perfect 'look,'" recalls Carroll. "And that I had the perfect personality—they kept saying I was friendly and personable—for what they were looking for."

What they were looking for, Carroll says, was an informant—someone to show up at "vegan potlucks" throughout the Twin Cities and rub shoulders with RNC protestors, schmoozing his way into their inner circles, then reporting back to the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force, a partnership between multiple federal agencies and state and local law enforcement. The effort's primary mission, according to the Minneapolis division's website, is to "investigate terrorist acts carried out by groups or organizations which fall within the definition of terrorist groups as set forth in the current United States Attorney General Guidelines."

Carroll would be compensated for his efforts, but only if his involvement yielded an arrest. No exact dollar figure was offered.

"I'll pass," said Carroll.

For 10 more minutes, Mazzola and Swanson tried to sway him. He remained obstinate.

"Well, if you change your mind, call this number," said Mazzola, handing him her card with her cell phone number scribbled on the back.

(Mazzola, Swanson, and the FBI did not return numerous calls seeking comment.)

Carroll's story echoes a familiar theme. During the lead-up the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City, the NYPD's Intelligence Division infiltrated and spied on protest groups across the country, as well as in Canada and Europe. The program's scope extended to explicitly nonviolent groups, including street theater troupes and church organizations.

There were also two reported instances of police officers, dressed as protestors, purposefully instigating clashes. At the 2004 Republican National Convention, the NYPD orchestrated a fake arrest to incite protestors. When a blond man was "arrested," nearby protestors began shouting, "Let him go!" The helmeted police proceeded to push back against the crowd with batons and arrested at least two. In a similar instance, during an April 29, 2005, Critical Mass bike ride in New York, video footage captured a "protestor"—in reality an undercover cop—telling his captor, "I'm on the job," and being subsequently let go.

Minneapolis's own recent Critical Mass skirmish was allegedly initiated by two unidentified stragglers in hoods—one wearing a handkerchief over his or her face—who "began to make aggressive moves" near the back of the pack. During that humid August 31 evening, officers went on to arrest 19 cyclists while unleashing pepper spray into the faces of bystanders. The hooded duo was never apprehended.

In the scuffle's wake, conspiracy theories swirled that the unprecedented surveillance—squad cars from multiple agencies and a helicopter hovering overhead—was due to the presence of RNC protesters in the ride. The MPD publicly denied this. But during the trial of cyclist Gus Ganley, MPD Sgt. David Stichter testified that a task force had been created to monitor the August 31 ride and that the department knew that members of an RNC protest group would be along for the ride.

"This is all part of a larger government effort to quell political dissent," says Jordan Kushner, an attorney who represented Ganley and other Critical Mass arrestees. "The Joint Terrorism Task Force is another example of using the buzzword 'terrorism' as a basis to clamp down on people's freedoms and push forward a more authoritarian government."

Vegan Potlucks 23.May.2008 08:16

anonymous or made up

Um, this is quite interesting.

Vegan potlucks.

So this article could also be entitled, "FBI wants to infiltrate vegan potlucks." And to me, that's even weirder. We PAY these people? To spy on us? Why???

You know they are reading this right now. I want to say something to them. An open letter to Homeland Security:

FUCK you people. You are despicable. History will recall you as the Nazis of your time. This is not the exaggeration we once hoped it was. You ARE the Nazis. You ARE the brownshirts. How do you sleep at night, knowing? Knowing you have become everything you once feared and hated? Knowing the darkness creeping in, through the door you cracked open for it? Knowing that you violate every principle our foremothers and forefathers fought and bled for, and put down into our constitution to protect us from? Knowing that it is YOU, you disgusting little creeps, who are the dark side.

The people will come after you one day, when it is clear that your abuses can no longer be tolerated, even in a society sleeping in front of their television screens, lulled to sleep beneath the hypnotic blue glare and the pretty girls and boys in deodorant ads. Even here, we will not put up with you forever. Vegan potlucks? You are infiltrating vegan potlucks? For what reason? Because you know you will find people of conscience there, and they must be rooted out? You sick, sad, stupid bunch of clowns.

And now, you're lurking there, behind your computer screen, thinking you are invisible. Gathering, gathering, gathering information on users of this site, solely for their political beliefs. Solely because they are intelligent, thinking beings, not co-opted by the plastic gleam of the status quo. You see them as a threat? ...to what? To this filthy, stinking toilet you have helped to make of the world? Is that what you are protecting? From whom? From vegans and guerrilla gardeners and people who think for themselves? From artists and anarchist soccer players? From whom?

Think about which side you are on. It's glaringly obvious to us. When will you see it? You already do, you know, in your heart, in your dreams, in your mirror. It's a paycheck and a challenge, and a ticket to the dark. You have sold your soul for this. You have sold out your own people.

Go ahead. Pretend you were not reading this just now. Pretend you do not see what I am starkly laying out for you. But you were, and you do. Pretend you are not, even as each word slides past your field of view, even as the realization dawns on you, pretend you can drive it out and get back to business as usual. But you cannot. You smell the stink on you now. As we smell your stink. We will use that stink. We will pick up your trail and we will follow your stinking, rotten scent all the way to your rotten, scared little meat, crouching in a corner behind a desk. We will expose you. And you, like the filth you work for, will dangle through history books as the creepy, silly, rotten little villains that you are. It's only a matter of will.

One Simple 24.May.2008 08:20


Did they investigate Rush Limbaugh when he called for republicans to incite riots at the Democratic National Convention? No...he got just a little tap on the wrist by the Clear Channel station master. That's all.

What a joke!