Infiltration of Occupy Wall Street : PART I - Infiltration to Disrupt, Divide and Mis-direct are Widespread in Occupy
by Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers
Global research Canada
February 25, 2012
This is Part I of a two part series on infiltration of Occupy and what the movement can do about limiting the damage of those who seek to destroy us from within. This first article describes public reports of infiltration as well as results of a survey and discussions with occupiers about this important issue. The second article will examine the history of political infiltration and steps we can take to address it.
In the first five months, the Occupy Movement has had major victories and has altered the debate about the economy. People in the power structure and who hold different political views are pushing back with a traditional tool – infiltration. Across the country, Occupies are struggling with disruption and division, attacks on key persons, escalation of tactics to property damage and police conflict as well as misuse of websites and social media.
As Part II of this discussion will show, infiltration is the norm in political movements in the United States. Occupy has many opponents likely to infiltrate to divide and destroy it beyond the usual law enforcement apparatus. Others include the corporations whose rule Occupy seeks to end, conservative right wing groups allied with corporate interests and other members of the power structure including non-profit organizations allied with either corporate-funded political party, especially the Democratic Party which would like Occupy to be their Tea Party rather than an independent movement critical of both parties.
On the very first day of the Occupation of Wall Street, we saw infiltration by the police. We were leaving Zucotti Park and were stopped in traffic by the rear of the park. We saw an unmarked van open, in the front seat were two uniformed police and out of the back came two men dressed as occupiers wearing backpacks, sweatshirts, and jeans. They walked into Zucotti Park and became part of the crowd.
In the first week of the Occupation of Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC we saw the impact of two right wing infiltrators. A peaceful protest was planned at the drone exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution. The plan was for a banner drop and a die-in under the drones. But, as protesters arrived at the museum two people ran out in front, threatening the security guards and causing them to pepper spray protesters and tourists. Patrick Howley, an assistant editor for the American Spectator, wrote a column bragging about his role as an agent provocateur. A few days later we uncovered the second infiltrator, Michael Stack, when he was urging people on Freedom Plaza to resist police with force. We later learned he was from the Leadership Institute which trains youth in right wing ideology and tactics. We were told he had also been at Occupy Wall Street provoking violence.
There have been a handful of other reports around the country of infiltration. In Oakland, CopWatch filmed an Oakland police officer infiltrating. And, in another video CopWatch includes audio tape of an Oakland police chief, Howard Jordan, talking about how police departments all over the country infiltrate, not just to monitor protesters but to manipulate and direct them.
There were also reports in Los Angeles of a dozen undercover police in the encampment before they were forcibly evicted by the police. The raid by the LA police was brutal and resulted in mass arrests, with most charges dropped, but with others mistreated in jails. Similar pre-raid undercover activities were reported in Nashville,Tennessee.
Los Angeles also had infiltrators from the right wing group, Free Republic. They posted on their webpage a call for infiltrators to block a vote concerning an offer from the City of Los Angeles for virtually free space for Occupy LA: “Need LA Freepers to show up to block this vote by the Occupy LA General Assembly. How brave are you?” In the end, the LA occupy decided not to accept the offer from the city, something also opposed by other elements in the encampment.
In New York, there were reports of infiltration. For example, a protester described how undercover police infiltrated a protest at Citibank and were the loudest and most disruptive protesters. Later at the station listening to the police the protester said in an interview: “It was a bit startling how inside their information was – how they were being paid to go to these protests and put us in situations where we’d be arrested and not be able to leave.”
Survey and Interviews of Occupiers Shows Common Tactics, Common Infiltrators
These scattered reports seem to be the tip of the iceberg. As a result of experiencing extreme divisive tactics and character assassination on Freedom Plaza against us we began to hear from occupiers across the country about similar incidents in their occupations. We decided to speak to and survey people about infiltration and have found similar stories around the country.
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