[Ppnews] Moles Wanted - FBI is soliciting informants to keep tabs on local protest groups
Political Prisoner News
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Fri May 23 10:32:59 EDT 2008
Issue <http://articles.citypages.com/archive/2008-05-21/>May 21, 2008
In preparation for the Republican National
Convention, the FBI is soliciting informants to
keep tabs on local protest groups
By <http://staff.citypages.com/authors/190297/>Matt Snyders
They were looking for an informant to show up at
"vegan potlucks" throughout the Twin Cities and
rub shoulders with RNC protestors.
Paul Carroll was riding his bike when his cell phone vibrated.
Once he arrived home from the Hennepin County
Courthouse, where hed been served a gross
misdemeanor for spray-painting the interior of a
campus elevator, the lanky, wavy-haired
University of Minnesota sophomore flipped open
his phone and checked his messages. He was
greeted by a voice he recognized immediately. It
belonged to U of M Police Sgt. Erik Swanson, the
officer to whom Carroll had turned himself in
just three weeks earlier. When Carroll called
back, Swanson asked him to meet at a coffee shop
later that day, going on to assure a wary Carroll that he wasnt in trouble.
Carroll, who requested that his real name not be
used, showed up early and waited anxiously for
Swansons arrival. Ten minutes later, he says, a
casually dressed Swanson showed up, flanked by a
woman whom he introduced as FBI Special Agent
Maureen E. Mazzola. For the next 20 minutes,
Mazzola would do most of the talking.
She told me that I had the perfect look,
recalls Carroll. And that I had the perfect
personalitythey kept saying I was friendly and
personablefor what they were looking for.
What they were looking for, Carroll says, was an
informantsomeone to show up at vegan potlucks
throughout the Twin Cities and rub shoulders with
RNC protestors, schmoozing his way into their
inner circles, then reporting back to the FBIs
Joint Terrorism Task Force, a partnership between
multiple federal agencies and state and local law
enforcement. The efforts primary mission,
according to the Minneapolis divisions website,
is to investigate terrorist acts carried out by
groups or organizations which fall within the
definition of terrorist groups as set forth in
the current United States Attorney General Guidelines.
Carroll would be compensated for his efforts, but
only if his involvement yielded an arrest. No exact dollar figure was offered.
Ill pass, said Carroll.
For 10 more minutes, Mazzola and Swanson tried to
sway him. He remained obstinate.
Well, if you change your mind, call this
number, said Mazzola, handing him her card with
her cell phone number scribbled on the back.
(Mazzola, Swanson, and the FBI did not return numerous calls seeking comment.)
Carrolls story echoes a familiar theme. During
the lead-up the 2004 Republican National
Convention in New York City, the NYPDs
Intelligence Division infiltrated and spied on
protest groups across the country, as well as in
Canada and Europe. The programs scope extended
to explicitly nonviolent groups, including street
theater troupes and church organizations.
There were also two reported instances of police
officers, dressed as protestors, purposefully
instigating clashes. At the 2004 Republican
National Convention, the NYPD orchestrated a fake
arrest to incite protestors. When a blond man was
arrested, nearby protestors began shouting,
Let him go! The helmeted police proceeded to
push back against the crowd with batons and
arrested at least two. In a similar instance,
during an April 29, 2005, Critical Mass bike ride
in New York, video footage captured a
protestorin reality an undercover coptelling
his captor, Im on the job, and being subsequently let go.
Minneapoliss own recent Critical Mass skirmish
was allegedly initiated by two unidentified
stragglers in hoodsone wearing a handkerchief
over his or her facewho began to make
aggressive moves near the back of the pack.
During that humid August 31 evening, officers
went on to arrest 19 cyclists while unleashing
pepper spray into the faces of bystanders. The
hooded duo was never apprehended.
In the scuffles wake, conspiracy theories
swirled that the unprecedented surveillancesquad
cars from multiple agencies and a helicopter
hovering overheadwas due to the presence of RNC
protesters in the ride. The MPD publicly denied
this. But during the trial of cyclist Gus Ganley,
MPD Sgt. David Stichter testified that a task
force had been created to monitor the August 31
ride and that the department knew that members of
an RNC protest group would be along for the ride.
This is all part of a larger government effort
to quell political dissent, says Jordan Kushner,
an attorney who represented Ganley and other
Critical Mass arrestees. The Joint Terrorism
Task Force is another example of using the
buzzword terrorism as a basis to clamp down on
peoples freedoms and push forward a more authoritarian government.
522 Valencia Street
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