Articles

Wanted FBI Informants to find terrorists at "Vegan Potlucks"

In 2008 Presidential Elections, dissent, human rights, politics on May 27, 2008 by Editor Z


The Republican National Convention is to be held in ST.Paul, Minnesota beginning on September 1 and concluding September 4, where the Party will nominate GOP Presidential candidate (and Bush/Cheney apologist) Senator John McCain (R-AZ), as the party’s presidential nominee.

But not everyone in attendance is likely to be a supporter of McCain nor of the Republican party. With the president’s approval ratting in the mid to uppers 20’s, a perilous outlook for the GOP in Congress and Gubernatorial elections across the map, a war raging that about 3/4ths of America oppose, an economy in free fall, and excessive government secrecy; many are likely to feel sour towards the party. Protesters are all but assured to be demonstrating outside the convention, after all as Jerry Rubin said in 1968 in Chicago during the Democratic National Convention amidst the Vietnam War “The Democratic party has blood on its hands”. The same is likely to be said of the Republican party this year.

But the FBI, according to at least one account, is likely to be keeping an eye on these groups, infiltrating them, even groups that espouse non-violence.

University of Minnesota student Paul Carroll (supposedly not his real name) was summoned to a meeting with a campus police Sergent. He was made an offer to be an undercover informant to infiltrate “vegan pot lucks” leading up to the convention.

City Pages/Minneapolis-

[Paul] Carroll, who requested that his real name not be used, showed up early and waited anxiously for Swanson’s arrival. Ten minutes later, he says a casually dressed {Campus Police Sargent Erik] 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 personality—they kept saying I was friendly and personable—for what they were looking for.”

What they were looking for, Carroll says, was an informant— someone to show-up at “vegan potlucks” throughout the Twin Cities and rub shoulders with RNC protesters, schmoozing his way into their inner circles, then reporting back to the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, a partnership between multiple federal agencies and state and local law enforcement. The effort’s primary mission, according to the Minneapolis division’s web site, 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.

“I’ll pass,” said Carroll.

For 10 more minutes Mazzola and Swanson tried to sway him., he remained obstinate.

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

(Mazzola, Swanson, and the FBI did not return numerous calls seeking comment.)

Carroll’s story echoes a familiar theme. During the lead up to the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York city, the NYPD’s Intelligence Division infiltrated and spied on protest groups across the country as well as in Canada and Europe. The program’s scope extended to explicitly non-violent groups, including street theater troupes and church organizations.

MY TAKE: This isn’t surprising, but it is sad that those merely practicing their constitutional rights to espouse their ideals, values, and vision for a country that is mired in an illegal, unpopular, and immoral occupation and attack on a country, an economy in turmoil, and the image of America is tarnished; are associated with terrorists.

During the Cold War, the FBI and intelligence agencies, especially under Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon used a program known as COINTELPRO to spy and retaliate against their critics and protesters. Many of these actions, carried out secretly, were illegal, unconstitutional, and clear abuses of both power and the character of America. They spied on illegal protesters, civil rights activists, and pacifists; the government basically declaring an ideological war many citizens in the name of National security, anti-communism,and victory in an unpopular war. Even groups and individuals, such as Martin Luther King, were harassed and monitored for their political convictions and activities. For merely questioning and criticizing their country when they saw it doing wrong both abroad and at home.

Now forty years later, we see an administration using another global crisis, the fight against terrorism overseas to consolidate power and silence their critics.

So the FBI is marshaling their resources because they say they believe Osama Bin Ladden and Al-Queda because they believe that vegan pot luck dinners filled with college students are hatcheries for Al-Queda? They seem to also believe that Quakers, you know those people who are supposedly potential nests of terrorism, that they actively oppose all war and opposed slavery even before the civil war.

This is nothing more then using the resources of law enforcement to instill fear in the wider public and silence critics. It’s disgusting, its authoritarian, and it is contrary to all that America should embody.

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