Thursday, December 22, 2005

Agents Provocateurs?

French is the one language I don't speak, but you get the gist of the headline, I hope. The New York City police officers have been playing a little game with protesters:

Undercover New York City police officers have conducted covert surveillance in the last 16 months of people protesting the Iraq war, bicycle riders taking part in mass rallies and even mourners at a street vigil for a cyclist killed in an accident, a series of videotapes show.

In glimpses and in glaring detail, the videotape images reveal the robust presence of disguised officers or others working with them at seven public gatherings since August 2004.

The officers hoist protest signs. They hold flowers with mourners. They ride in bicycle events. At the vigil for the cyclist, an officer in biking gear wore a button that said, "I am a shameless agitator." She also carried a camera and videotaped the roughly 15 people present.

Beyond collecting information, some of the undercover officers or their associates are seen on the tape having influence on events. At a demonstration last year during the Republican National Convention, the sham arrest of a man secretly working with the police led to a bruising confrontation between officers in riot gear and bystanders.

Bill the Big Boa used to be a hippie snake. He was around during the Nam era and knows all about smoking pot. He pitied my naivete in thinking that this article presented new news. Supposedly all cool cats know that this is what the police does, they try to start fights so that the journos can then label the protesters as violent and the myriad spying organizations can then spy on all the vegans and Catholic Workers. Because an agent provocateur started fights.

Now this is what Bill the Big Boa says, not what I say. I'm not sure what to say here. I can see his logic and have not been offered an alternative.