Covert Secret Police Operations, Psy-Ops and the Use of Bigotry to Disrupt Social Movements (Part 1)

In the 1960s I personally witnessed the use of covert secret police operations to disrupt and destroy budding social movements.

COINTELPRO was only the best known.


Blackstock, Nelson: Cointelpro: The FBI’s Secret War on Political Freedom
Churchill, Ward: Agents of Repression: The FBI’s Secret Wars Against the Black Panther Party and the American Indian Movement
Churchill, Ward: The COINTELPRO Papers: Documents from the FBI’s Secret Wars Against Dissent in the United States

Since the late 19th century every left wing organization that has fought for or advocated for the rights of any oppressed minority has automatically been labeled Communist or Anarchist.  With that label has come covert secret police operations aimed at disrupting and destroying that movement.

Some of that disruption includes the implanting of spies within the organizations.  Once implanted their job is to report incriminating evidence back to their superiors.

Here is where it gets tricky.  Since their job is to find a reason to arrest the members of this group these secret police will often create the crime, encourage, plan, provide the materials and abet an action that would not have otherwise taken place in order to have cause to arrest the members of a given organization.

Secret Police always want to take the violence to the next level.  Even when other members of a group object to that.  If a group does vandalism such as repurposing billboards, the secret police agent will urge them to commit violence against people.

There are other ways to disrupt organizations if such organizations are not involved in public demonstrations or doing actions such as postering.

One way involved the “center of attention”, the most oppressed person in the world sucking up all the energy that would otherwise be devoted to the cause.


Freeman, Jo:  The Tyranny of Structurelessness
Freeman, Jo:  Trashing

Over the last forty years, I’ve watched the rise of both Antisemitism and Transphobia as  levers of disruption used to fragment struggling movements

Jewish people who trace their ancestry back to Eastern Europe have this incredible history of involvement in the labor movement, the Civil Rights Movement and all the rest of the progressive movements we have in this country.  Yet we have seen the rise of Antisemitism under the guise of Anti-Zionism.

A small class of people among the most progressive, historical victims of pogroms, bigotry and genocide are accused of perpetuating every evil in the world with attacks that could have come straight from Hitler’s propaganda minions.  As a result the movement is deprived of the involvement of a class of people who have been at the forefront of American progressive/radical left movements.

This brings us to transsexual/transgender people.  We were used to disrupt both the Feminist Movement and the Lesbian Movements back in the 1970s.  Organizations were torn apart, struggling women’s enterprise collectives were damaged.

The charges leveled against TS/TG people were extremely bizarre and often contradictory.  Just as often they were one step away from suggesting we either kill ourselves or be subjected to genocidal measures as extreme as those proposed for gay and lesbian people in certain African countries.

One is forced to ask: Cui Bono?  Who benefits?

It’s like how the Tea Party has drawn a lot of working class whites, who are justifiably pissed off over the ratcheting up of their level of misery.  So the Koch brothers and ALEC poured a bunch of money into creating a movement to focus this anger on any progressive measures that might have helped these working class people.

Great trick… Divert the anger from those causing your pain and redirect it towards those who might do something to alleviate that pain.

In the past TS/TG people have been used as scapegoats to disrupt and sow dissension in both the Feminist Movement and in the Lesbian Movement.  In the Gay Movement not so much.

There is a vicious right wing war on women going on. The ultra right wing Christo-fascists aka Dominionists are attacking women’s access to contraception as well as abortion.

All of a sudden there is a major attack on TS/TG people’s rights lead by the Christo-Fascists, Neo-Nazis and the so called Radical Feminists.  What do these groups have in common?

Over the last couple of months these attacks on TS/TG people have moved beyond the  Lesbian Community and the Feminist Communities.  Now the attacks are cropping up in the Eco-Movements, especially the Eco-Feminist and Deep Green factions.  Cui Bono?

Over the last 40 years these Dominionists aka Christo-fascists have taken over the Republican Party, are a substantial portion of the police and military industrial complex.

The ultra right wing in this country has been actively waging war against the Left since the 1930s when the enemy was the New Deal and the attacks were led by Martin Dies, a Dixiecrat representative from Texas and co-creator of HUAC (House Committee Investigating Un-American Activities)

From Wikipedia:

In pre-war years and during World War II, HUAC was known as the Dies Committee. Its work was supposed to be aimed mostly at German American involvement in Nazi and Ku Klux Klan activity, such as the German American Bund. As to investigations into the activities of the “Klan,”, the Committee actually did little. When HUAC’s chief counsel Ernest Adamson announced that: “The committee has decided that it lacks sufficient data on which to base a probe,” committee member John E. Rankin added: “After all, the KKK is an old American institution.”

In the 1950s we had McCarthyism and the rise of the John Birch Society.  The Neo-Fascists of the American ultra right even managed to get their candidate, Senator Barry Goldwater the Presidential nomination in 1964.

In the fifteen years that followed America enjoyed a brief window of freedom and liberation that was strangled by the ultra right wing rise to power that brought us Reagan.

Reagan strengthened the Police State, encouraging the building of an American Stasi to root out traitors at the same time he spent lavishly on building the American Military Industrial Complex.

Fast forward to the second election of Barrack Obama, a tepid moderate milk-toast, who is perhaps the least effectual President in modern history, yet the ultra right wing portrays him as a Muslim anti-Christ bringing about Soviet style Socialism.

No matter how I dig I feel I am only touching the edges of the spying. The government isn’t the sole offender, some covert corporate and privately funded operations function with no governmental oversight what so ever.


International Socialist Review:  The lessons of COINTELPRO

Scholarly Commons: Police Infiltration of Dissident Groups

Covert Action Information Bulletin: Domestic Surveillance: The History of Operation CHAOS


Wikipedia: Operation Chaos

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“The most effective tactic… has been to turn the activists against each other”

From Green is the New Red:

by Will Potter
April 3, 2012

One of the most rewarding aspects of my work has been the opportunity to learn about activist projects around the world, and in some cases contribute in whatever small way I can. A while back I was contacted by a collective of anarchist translators in Spain (you read that correctly — how great is that?) and asked to interview. Here is the result. The translation is available at La Cizalla Ácrata, “Entrevista con Will Potter, autor del libro ‘Green is the New Red.’”

Please, introduce yourself and your book “Green is the New Red”

Hello, everyone. I am an independent journalist based in Washington, DC. My work has been featured in publications including the Los Angeles Times, Mother Jones, and National Public Radio. The focus of my writing and lecturing is how political activists are being labeled as “terrorists” by corporations and the U.S. government. Green Is the New Red exposes how animal rights and environmental activists have become the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) “number one domestic terrorism threat.” My book is written as narrative, telling the story of some members of the Earth Liberation Front, Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty and other groups while also investigating how corporations manufactured the idea of “eco-terrorism.”

When we talk about the AETA, the Green Scare… Can we say it has achieved their goal? I mean, have you noticed, there in the USA, that animal rights and eco activists work have deceased since these repressive strategies begun?

This is a very difficult question to answer, because social movements, by their nature, or always changing. However, it is undeniable that these tactics have had a chilling effect, which means that they have made many activists think twice about what they say and do because they are concerned about being labeled a terrorist. That being said, the animal rights and environmental movements in the United States are vibrant and growing. There has been a resurgence of non-violent civil disobedience in protest of climate change, and animal rights activists are using undercover investigations very effectively.

I guess the mass media have supported this kind of repression. How many importance did they have (or are having at the moment) in criminalizing activists? Did some paper, TV channel… show some form of criticism about it?

For the most part, journalists in the United States have failed to critically examine these tactics. I would argue that one of the reasons that “eco-terrorism” became such a threat is that mainstream journalists used this term without questioning the source. In recent months we have seen more and more criticism of laws like the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, but for the most part these have not received much attention at all.

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Inside Groundswell: Read the Memos of the New Right-Wing Strategy Group Planning a “30 Front War”

From Mother Jones:

Ginni Thomas, Allen West, and a crew of conservative activists and journalists have formed a hush-hush coalition to battle progressives—and Karl Rove.

Thu Jul. 25, 2013

Believing they are losing the messaging war with progressives, a group of prominent conservatives in Washington—including the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and journalists from Breitbart News and the Washington Examiner—has been meeting privately since early this year to concoct talking points, coordinate messaging, and hatch plans for “a 30 front war seeking to fundamentally transform the nation,” according to documents obtained by Mother Jones.

Dubbed Groundswell, this coalition convenes weekly in the offices of Judicial Watch, the conservative legal watchdog group. During these hush-hush sessions and through a Google group, the members of Groundswell—including aides to congressional Republicans—cook up battle plans for their ongoing fights against the Obama administration, congressional Democrats, progressive outfits, and the Republican establishment and “clueless” GOP congressional leaders. They devise strategies for killing immigration reform, hyping the Benghazi controversy, and countering the impression that the GOP exploits racism. And the Groundswell gang is mounting a behind-the-scenes organized effort to eradicate the outsize influence of GOP über-strategist/pundit Karl Rove within Republican and conservative ranks. (For more on Groundswell’s “two front war” against Rove—a major clash on the right—click here.)

One of the influential conservatives guiding the group is Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, a columnist for the Daily Caller and a tea party consultant and lobbyist. Other Groundswell members include John Bolton, the former UN ambassador; Frank Gaffney, the president of the Center for Security Policy; Ken Blackwell and Jerry Boykin of the Family Research Council; Tom Fitton, the president of Judicial Watch; Gayle Trotter, a fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum; Catherine Engelbrecht and Anita MonCrief of True the Vote; Allen West, the former GOP House member; Sue Myrick, also a former House GOPer; Diana Banister of the influential Shirley and Banister PR firm; and Max Pappas, a top aide to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

Among the conveners listed in an invitation to a May 8 meeting of Groundswell were Stephen Bannon, executive chairman of Breitbart News Network; Dan Bongino, a former Secret Service agent who resoundingly lost a Maryland Senate race last year (and is now running for a House seat); Leonard Leo, executive vice president of the Federalist Society; Sandy Rios, a Fox News contributor; Lori Roman, a former executive director of the American Legislative Exchange Council; and Austin Ruse, the head of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute. Conservative journalists and commentators participating in Groundswell have included Breitbart News reporters Matthew Boyle and Mike Flynn, Washington Examiner executive editor Mark Tapscott, and National Review contributor Michael James Barton.

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Activists Identify DC Cop Who Infiltrated Bangladesh Sweatshop Protests

Be sure to Check out the Photo that is with the article this teaser is linked to.

From In These Times:

By Mike Elk
Tuesday Aug 6, 2013

Rumors have flown for many years that DC police routinely infiltrate and spy on the frequent protests in the nation’s Capitol. But until now, activists have never been able to identify a specific undercover cop at a protest. Now, after months of piecing together evidence, attorneys Jeffrey Light and Sean Canavan working with United Students Against Sweatshop (USAS) have confirmed that under an assumed name, Metro police officer Nicole Rizzi has participated in USAS protests against companies doing business in Bangladesh who refuse to sign the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh following the death of as many as 1,129 workers in the Rana Plaza factory collapse.

USAS and its lawyers have numerous pieces of evidence placing Rizzi at protests under a pseudonym. District of Columbia Public Employee Information List records obtained by In These Times confirm that Rizzi has been on the DC Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) force since December of 2003.

USAS filed suit on Monday against the District of Columbia seeking an injunction to stop police from spying on the group’s activities.

The story of how Rizzi was uncovered reads like a mix of “Gossip Girl” and “The Wire.” Activists pieced her identity together from her obsessive posting to social media sites, including Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook, WordPress and Yfrog.

Lacy MacAuley, an activist and media manager for the Institute for Policy Studies, has suspected for the past several years that a protester named “Missy” was an undercover cop. “Missy” seemed to be at every protest, but no one knew her. However, MacAuley had no way of proving her suspicions.

Then, in November of 2012, MacAuley was at a bar on U Street when a friend recommended that she follow a Twitter account of a funny person with the handle @snufftastic. MacAuley immediately identified the user in the photographs as the person she knew as “Missy.” The user Tweeted frequently about the daily grind of being a police officer in DC.

MacAuley says she then spotted Rizzi as “Missy” at an anti-Keystone pipeline protest at the Canadian Embassy on March 21, 2013. That was when MacAuley decided to approach Jeffrey Light, an attorney who works on police misconduct issues, with her suspicions. Light and his law partner Sean Canavan began searching for evidence to peg Rizzi as an undercover police officer.

The trickiest part was establishing Rizzi’s real name. But on @snufftastic, she let clues drop. On August 2, 2012, she Tweeted, “They used to call me No Sweat Nico because no matter how hot it was at academy, I never sweat.”

Continue reading at:

See also:

BoingBoing: DC cops caught infiltrating peaceful, lawful protest groups

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Undercover Agents Infiltrated Tar Sands Resistance Camp to Break up Planned Protest

From Earth Island Journal:

by Adam Federman
August 12, 2013

After a week of careful planning, environmentalists attending a tar sands resistance action camp in Oklahoma thought they had the element of surprise — but they would soon learn that their moves were being closely watched by law enforcement officials and TransCanada, the very company they were targeting.

On the morning of March 22 activists had planned to block the gates at the company’s strategic oil reserves in Cushing, Oklahoma as part of the larger protest movement against TransCanada’s tar sands pipeline. But when they showed up in the early morning hours and began unloading equipment from their vehicles they were confronted by police officers. Stefan Warner, an organizer with Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance, says some of the vehicles en route to the protest site were pulled over even before they had reached Cushing. He estimates that roughly 50 people would have participated— either risking arrest or providing support. The act of nonviolent civil disobedience, weeks in the planning, was called off.

“For a small sleepy Oklahoma town to be saturated with police officers on a pre-dawn weekday leaves only one reasonable conclusion,” says Ron Seifert, an organizer with an affiliated group called Tar Sands Blockade. “They were there on purpose, expecting something to happen.”

Seifert is exactly right. According to documents obtained by Earth Island Journal, investigators from the Bryan County Sherriff’s Department had been spying on a Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance training camp that took place from March 18 to March 22 and which brought together local landowners, Indigenous communities, and environmental groups opposed to the pipeline.

At least two law enforcement officers infiltrated the training camp and drafted a detailed report about the upcoming protest, internal strategy, and the character of the protesters themselves. The undercover investigator who wrote the report put the tar sands opponents into five different groups: eco-activists (who “truly wanted to live off the grid”); Occupy members; Native American activists (“who blamed all forms of government for the poor state of being that most American Indians are living in”); Anarchists (“many wore upside down American flags”); and locals from Oklahoma (who “had concerns about the pipeline harming the community”).

The undercover agent’s report was obtained by Douglas Parr, an Oklahoma attorney who represented three activists (all lifelong Oklahomans) who were arrested in mid April for blockading a tar sands pipeline construction site. “During the discovery in the Bryan county cases we received material indicating that there had been infiltration of the Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance camp by police agents,” Parr says. At least one of the undercover investigators attended an “action planning” meeting during which everyone was asked to put their cell phones or other electronic devices into a green bucket for security reasons. The investigator goes on to explain that he was able to obtain sensitive information regarding the location of the upcoming Cushing protest, which would mark the culmination of the week of training. “This investigator was able to obtain an approximate location based off a question that he asked to the person in charge of media,” he wrote. He then wryly notes that, “It did not appear…that our phones had been tampered with.”

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What Does a Woman’s Body Possess that Makes it a Woman’s Body?

From Decolonizing Yoga:

Transmisogyny is Misogyny Against All Women: An Open Letter to Cis Feminists

by Gus Allis
July 31, 2013

/mɪˈsɒdʒəni, maɪ-/ [mi-soj-uh-nee, mahy-]
hatred, dislike, or mistrust of women.

I need to know something. I need to know what a real woman is. I’m a woman and I need to know if I’m real and the only person who can tell me is Bitch. Or maybe it’s Lisa Voegel. Or maybe it’s Rush Limbaugh. Ok, then I need to know two things: I need to know if I’m a real woman and I need to know who can tell me if I am. Because if I’ve learned anything during these past few years, existing on the periphery of the trans community as a cis lover, friend, sister, and “ally” of trans folk, it’s that I sure as shit don’t have the authority to determine my own gender identity. I’ve also learned, in no uncertain terms, that the war on trans women’s identities is a war on all women’s identity. Transmisogyny is misogyny against all women.

If you hate, dislike, or mistrust trans women, you’re misogynistic. Trans women are included in the big ol’ group known as women. Want proof? Well look at their name, silly. We call ‘em trans women, not trans chia pets, not trans beach towels, not trans men. Remember high school algebra? Oh hush, yes you do. Let me remind you of this lovely little mathematical rule:

If a=b and b=c, then a=c

If trans women= women and hating, disliking, or mistrusting women= misogyny then…then what? Solve for c.

Ok technically that would be trans women= misogyny but you know perfectly well what I mean and I hate that you even questioned my math.

But I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “But Gus, I think trans women=/= women so therefore it’s totally not misogynistic to hate, dislike, or mistrust trans women.” And I understand that. Really, I do. But here’s the thing. Now listen carefully, my little chickadee, cuz I’m about to blow your mind:

You’re wrong.

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Jerry Brown signs transgender-student bill

From The San Jose Mercury:

By Tom Verdin

SACRAMENTO — California on Monday became the first state to enshrine certain rights for transgender K-12 students in state law, requiring public schools to allow those students access to whichever restroom and locker room they want.

Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown announced that he had signed AB1266, which also will allow transgender students to choose whether they want to play boys’ or girls’ sports. The new law gives students the right “to participate in sex-segregated programs, activities and facilities” based on their self-perception and regardless of their birth gender.

Supporters said it will help reduce bullying and discrimination against transgender students. It comes as the families of transgender students have been waging local battles with school districts across the country over what restrooms and locker rooms their children can use, disagreements that have sometimes landed in court.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights and the ACLU of California were among the bill’s supporters. Detractors, including some Republican lawmakers, said allowing students of one gender to use facilities intended for the other could invade the other students’ privacy.

Such fears are overblown, said Carlos Alcala, spokesman for the bill’s author, Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano of San Francisco. In general, he said, transgender students are trying to blend in and are not trying to call attention to themselves.

“They’re not interested in going into bathrooms and flaunting their physiology,” Alcala said.

He also noted that the state’s largest school district, Los Angeles Unified, has had such a policy for nearly a decade and reported no problems. San Francisco schools also have such policies, and numerous other districts signed on in support of the legislation.

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Of course the right wing nut and gender confused denizen of Mission District Flophouses, Jennifer Usher, is upset that Transkids won’t get abused enough.  No link on that one folks.

See also:

Media Matters: Fox’s Gutfeld Mocks “Confused” Students Who Would Benefit From California Transgender Rights Bill

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