Thursday, December 22, 2005

Spies vs. Provocateurs

After reading this New York Times article about police infiltration of protests, I had to preach a bit to the choir:

I'm not a lawyer (Condoleeza said it numerous times on Meet The Press, so I'll say it once), but a few things seem obvious to me:

With all the spying and snooping and such, I have no doubt that police departments large and small are engaged in infiltration of peace groups, demonstrations, etc. Having "smiled for the camera" many times myself, I have come to accept this. If there's a "list," then I'm definitely on it. Constitutionality aside, I accept this as fact (so go ahead, try and steal my identity, bad credit, etc.).

I do however recognize a huge difference between spying on protesters (passively, one might argue, just listening, videotaping, etc.) and ACTIVELY instigating or influencing events. It's one thing for the authorities to surveil a suspected terrorist (I'm on the lawful side in believing that it should be legal - court order, non-impeachable-style). It's another thing entirely when law enforcement stages events (from faking the handcuffs to blowing things up) in order to entrap the "bad guys."

When a regular citizen "mole" slips into, say, a Camp Casey event, with provocateur intentions - though I might detest their motives, I still recognize their right to do so, and even admire their bravery a little. If they are doing this as a cititzen, activist, civilian - OK - we have peacekeepers to deal with that. But when a government official is the one doing it, they areVIOLATING EVERYONE'S RIGHTS, including their own. This is what must be stopped. This is why the NYTimes article has me fuming.


Post a Comment

<< Home