Please visit the new home of Majikthise at bigthink.com/blogs/focal-point.

« UN carbon offset program wastes billions | Main | Event photographer for DNC in Denver: Book today »

May 26, 2008

Got quinoa? FBI infiltrating vegan potlucks ahead of GOP convention


Candid Camera, originally uploaded by Lindsay Beyerstein.

 

Matt Snyders has a good article on the FBI's attempts to recruit moles in the Twin Cities to infiltrate vegan potlucks ahead of the GOP convention.

Photo: From a demonstration I covered earlier this month in New York City. The guy training the video camera on me is Officer Capoziello from the NYPD's Technical Assistance Response Unit (TARU). TARU are the audiovisual monitors of the NYPD, the cops that videotape protesters.

[HT: Michael Froomkin]

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
https://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341c61e653ef00e5527f3b3b8833

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Got quinoa? FBI infiltrating vegan potlucks ahead of GOP convention:

Comments

They should have to get a warrant before planting spies in a group.

Then they came for the vegans and I didn't speak up... for I was a vegetarian who occasionally indulged in flounder.

Lindsay Beyerstein -

Just wondering: were you originally going to start the headline with "Got Soymilk?" and then decided against it?

Please tell me this is some sort of sick joke. Please.

Eric, I wish I'd thought of "Got Soymilk?"

Great J. Edgar Hoover's ghost. Well, we can all breath a little easier knowing that the feds are ferreting out the terrorists. Everyone knows that vegetarians are evil. We know who they are: Hitler, Pol Pot, Ayatollah Khamenei, Richard Gere, Brigitte Bardot . . . Need I say more?

Me? I'm about to tuck into some nice lamb chops.

BTW, L., How did you get Officer Capoziello's name?

Most of the time I just go around radiating snarky general pissed-offness.

But when I look at that photo I feel fear... a cold and deliberate splash of fear that gets me right in the brainstem and sinks like a brick down into my gut.

And I fucking hate that.

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

I wonder why the author didn't provide the cell phone number. Would that be considered a breach of journalistic ethics? I think FBI agents should be personally responsible when they adopt such tactics, and printing the agent's phone number would contribute to bringing that responsibility home for Mazzola.

"But when I look at that photo I feel fear... a cold and deliberate splash of fear that gets me right in the brainstem and sinks like a brick down into my gut."

That's the intended effect, I'm sure- and probably far more important to these agencies than any actual information gathered.

cfrost -

I know you're kidding, but there is a whole book documenting the meat-eating of Adolf Hitler, which included Bavarian sausages.

Cass

Yes, and maybe its also to gather information on anarchist and other "protesters" that have inflicted real damage in various cities in the world.

His name's on his shirt. If you click on the image in the post, you can view a larger image on Flickr.

The Phantom -

Protestors against the killing of Sean Bell (which the police are watching in the photo at the top of this blog post)generally aren't anarchists.

"I know you're kidding, but there is a whole book documenting the meat-eating of Adolf Hitler, which included Bavarian sausages."

That figures. He had a secret stash of Mendelssohn and Mahler, too.

"Yes, and maybe its also to gather information on anarchist and other 'protesters' that have inflicted real damage in various cities in the world."

You're comparing the threat of 19 year old "anarchists" to the threat of despotism? Seriously?

A writer at discourse.net makes a good point:

"...the FBI is recruiting unpaid volunteers to become infiltrators. And they get paid only if they give information leading to an arrest. Which creates a serious incentive for agents provocateurs. This is not a sensible policy at all. It is in fact a very bad idea."

The moles will be promoting criminal activity, as a way to get paid.

"Protestors against the killing of Sean Bell (which the police are watching in the photo at the top of this blog post)generally aren't anarchists."

People within our various law enforcement agencies- from the local to the federal level- have a record of regarding anyone from Code Pink to nuns to Quakers to the SCLC as serious threats to the order of society. Stupidity, paranoia and latent (or not so latent) sadism is par for the course with authoritarian personalities, and these agencies are always infested with such types, regardless of the society or government they work within. All they're waiting for is someone at the top to let them off the leash.

Eric

Most people, esp those with brains, are not anarchists.

But this protest was largely put together by big Al Sharpton. Who on two occasions in the past has been the prime organizer of protests in which people ultimately were stabbed to death ( the Crown Heights "kill the Jew" incident ) or were burned to death ( Freddy's Mart, 125th Street incident )

Regardless of the issue being protested, any demonstration that Al Sharpton has anything to do with should be very carefully observed.

One thing that stands out about such photographing is lack of formal legal status such images have. These are not secret documents and the police needs to be held accountable about the uses of images. The Police shoot images then they need to be posted to public use quickly and 'Public Knowledge' shaped by social or civic rights. One of the most important issues should be on-going that police provide videos of everything they do, and this information made public. They have no privilege to knowing in society. Rather society ought to define what needs to be known and force the police into public evidence of all their conduct. No video, no trial. No more police testimony without video. Let police physical force be shown in the public record so that bad cops are forced to show their conduct.

Secondly, who watches the movies? Movies take real time to view adding time to police duties. The police are taking on 'seeing' persons of interest by inadequate automated recognition systems. This needs regulating. Watching needs exposure and public debate.

I really don't like being photographed by the NYPD, in light of the files that have come to light of their surveillance activities during the 2004 RNC.

In 2006 I interviewed investigative journalist Joe Tentro, an expert on airline security. At the time, he had just finished a extensive investigative collaboration with 60 Minutes to authenticate a copy of the TSA No Fly list that had come over the transom.

We talked a lot about airline security. I mentioned that in recent months I'd been having trouble checking in at automated airline kiosks. For whatever reason, I'd always get a message telling me to go to the attendant for further screening. I asked Tentro why that might be.

He asked, "Do you go to a lot of protests?"

I do attend a lot of protests.

Tentro explained that many major airlines have arrangements with current or former law enforcement to compile lists of local "troublemakers" to be singled out for further screening. "Persons of interest" are frequently identified from footage of protests. I've never been arrested or even reprimanded by any law enforcement officer and I've never even committed civil disobedience.
Most of the time I'm just there as a blogger/journalist/event photog, anyway.

It's legally impossible to find out whether you're on the list, let alone how you got there.

These surveillance relationships are separate from the offical TSA no-fly list, but in practice there's also crosstalk between TSA and the airlines as well. So, someone who's been flagged by an airline might also end up on the government's radar and vice versa.

You can't assume the law will protect you. Sometimes you just have to protect yourself.

Learn the art of simple disguise for certain assignment. Split your online material, etc.

You should be able to check who's looking at your blog. Do you have Site Meter or anything similar? I've seen "nyc.gov" identifying visitors to my site. You may be able to easily track those from the NYPD who look at your site, and even get their IP address.

When I made comments on Tibet that the Chinese govt did not like, had s sudden series of comments from "yu" who we were able to essentially identify as a Chinese govt employee/propagandist from Shanghai.

I doubt NYPD has engaged in propaganda here, but it may be fun to track their visits. Two can play the surveillance game.

Excuse me, "lu" not "yu"

btw.

1. the gov track every IP visit. (learn how to browse the web safely. use tor)
2. typepad is own by russian company
3. if your name is in TSA list, assume they will confiscate your laptop/data at the border. So seperate your data from your laptop (learn how to hide data (encrypted SD card, partition external HD, etc) what doesn't exist cannot be confiscated.
4. flush your cellphone, camera, etc (those data can be confiscated and has no legal protection at the border.
5. learn how to transmit data over the internet safely.
6. assume your phone conversation is being listened. (learn how to use disposable phone safely.)

basically: if you use any electronic transaction and connected to the network or about to enter Bush regime inspection. assume it will be lost and spied on.

http://www.cnbc.com/id/24497587/

UBS tells ex-private banking team members to avoid US.

(their laptop data was confiscated during border crossing)

LB writes;
I really don't like being photographed by the NYPD, in light of the files that have come to light of their surveillance activities during the 2004 RNC.

Doyle;
The issue though is public use of images. If you take your example for identifying you as a trouble maker and then using that at public transportation gates to slow you, this is a civic and legal abuse of your rights. I know they abuse things, but it is also where rights might be established. To repeat my thesis above, require the police to document all their activities, and post that publicly. No hiding their behavior. Where legislation is possible get congress to over ride secrecy laws that Bush terrorism war forced upon us.

The larger aim is to develop a civil society that 'knows' how the police behave. In that sense they would break the law by hiding making you a suspect. What right do they have to define someone like you as a suspect? I think this is also about political balance of power. The law before the supreme court is likely to favor secret police thinking. But the more liberal democratic congress likely to be elected might be pushed to recognize new public rights.

The comments to this entry are closed.