WHO THEY ARE AND WHAT THEY DO:
I write this from my many years of experience in protest involvement, as an organizer, a participant, as one of the first media activists, and as a lawyer. I have helped a couple people who have been victimized by agents provocateurs – that is, goaded into activity they would not normally do and arrested for it.
I am also friends with a man who spent 6 months in prison awaiting being charged under the Homeland Security Patriot Act. He is a white guy in his 20s who went to his first protest demonstration and followed along when things got “out of hand.” What did he actually do? He wrote with spray paint on a government vehicle, an SUV. All the protest “leaders” scrambled for safety and he was left alone, being arrested. When it comes under Homeland Security (which a lot of acts do), the Patriot Act kicks into action and your normal civil rights do not apply. Normally, a person can only sit in jail for about 2-3 days and then they either have to charge you with a crime, or let you go. Under the Patriot Act, that is not true They can hold you for a long long time and never charge you. There’s a lot of the other basic rules that get ignored.
There are going to be people that do not like what I am writing. Please do not let this be deleted by any such person. I AM TELLING IT LIKE IT IS, REALLY.
“AGENTS PROVOCATEURS” is the French term for people that come into a protest group and try to get you to do illegal things, preferably to get you arrested.
WHO ARE THEY? WHY DO THEY DO IT?
I think Agents provocateurs can be broken into 2 CATEGORIES:
1) Real agents provocateurs, and
2) undercover police, FBI, NSA, and Homeland Security.
1) Real AGENTS PROVOCATEURS -- “REVOLUTIONARIES or “TERRORISTS” - Some people actually belong to a supposed revolutionary or terrorist group. These groups are real. The FBI and NSA keep lists of them. The vast majority of these groups are just a bunch of hot air and usually boring as all get-out, self-important, and often, from my observation, with main members who are on SSI for some mental disability that involves paranoia. So while they have no job, they have plenty of time to be a “revolutionary” and talk big. Others are professors or part-time professors with secure jobs. Others work for non-profits. Others are retired. What I am saying is that most of them are not risking much by getting you to do something stupid.
These folks want “action” – and they mostly want YOU to do the action. They will lie to you and tell you what you are doing is okay, that it is legal, that nothing will happen, that it is good to get arrested, that it is “civil disobedience,” that you dare not challenge them or argue with it.
These people are manipulative. They will challenge you and play an “ism” card to make it so you are supposed to be ashamed to stop them – they will say you are racist, sexist, against people with disabilities, against immigrants, ageist, elitist, or whatever. They will claim they have to do illegal acts because of the system, the man, police brutality, poverty, war, or something – demands it. None of this is true. No one gets to use their “status” as a “victim” to victimize you and wreck your life.
GUESS WHAT? Once you get arrested, your “comrades” will NOT be there with bail money, a lawyer, to support you and your family since you will be out of a job, to get you into school despite a felony, etc. IN FACT, they will USE YOU to try to show the system is corrupt, the police are brutal, and on and on. You will be a total pawn in their game.
KEEP IN MIND: No responsible person with a job or family or going to school runs around doing violent or goofball things to get arrested. Just does not happen.
HOW TO GET RID OF THEM: DEMAND THAT EVERYONE FOLLOW THE LAW. DO NOT let them define “peace” as including “violence.” DEMAND PEACE, NON-VIOLENCE AND ONLY LEGAL ACTIVITY. END OF STORY – ONLY LEGAL BEHAVIOR AS DEFINED IN THE LAW, not in their imaginations.
THEY WILL ARGUE: “Everything Hitler did was legal,” etc – which is not true, but that is besides the point. They will try to draw analogies to our society. The U.S. is by no means perfect, but our laws are pretty darn good. And also, as a society, we are pretty darn good. We care about each other and help each other. The U.S. is a good country and we aim to improve it, not destroy it.
THEY will argue that you are “co-opting the system,” colluding with the authorities,” and on and on. SAY: You’re right. I am. I plan to go to college and have a family and I want a nice life with good things in it, not a felony record. Thank you. I am trying to improve things to make all that even better.
2) UNDERCOVER POLICE, FBI, NSA, HOMELAND SECURITY. Wake up, folks. Almost every big domestic “terror” arrest has been a set-up by an FBI agent or someone working part-time for them. HOW UNDERCOVER AGENTS WORK:
THEY JOIN YOUR GROUP. They often take leadership roles. They DO NOT allow anyone to question them. They control the flow of information and try to block out those that question them. In fact, they work ALMOST EXACTLY like the people listed above -- except instead of being goofs trying to draw you into some violent act and get you arrested so they can feel they are part of exciting action and have something to talk about (for years to come) – these folks will SET YOU UP for a HUGE ARREST.
HOW IT WORKS EXACTLY: They casually feel out a whole group, to see who are the vulnerable targets.
1) They act the troll on message boards and facebook, to see who is and who is not open to violent action.
2) They organize actions and when you are out, lead you to do stupid things, such as throwing things, going onto bridges or overpasses, blocking cars, shouting. AND - If you fall for it, you are their mark for a bigger set-up.
3) They invite you to classes where they draw you in to ideas and plans that involve violence.
4) They contact you privately to tell you of their dissatisfaction, and it builds over time. They might get you to agree to help them in some act, or get you to start to carry it out. The whole time, your conversations are recorded, the emails are kept, there might even be video. THESE kinds of stings can start and if you seem ripe for it, they will go on for months to years until there is enough evidence to call you a “terrorist” and indict you.
5) They will INCITE you to chaos, disorder and / or violence when you are in a group, and then YOU will be arrested! Yes, YOU!
DO NOT FALL FOR ANY OF THIS.