Topic of the Week: Snitches, Moles, Informants, oh my!

  • Posted on: 5 July 2016
  • By: thecollective

Decades ago, I was part of organizing against Operation Rescue. At a couple of meetings some people showed up who seemed off. No one asked them to leave, although we all agreed afterwards that they were suspicious. When we called the contact info they'd left, it was wrong numbers all the way down. The first time this happened we all agreed that we would call them out if it happened again. It happened at least twice more, to similar silence from those of us who felt uncomfortable.

Surely now people are more prepared to deal with sketch people. What has been your experience (or the accurate stories you've heard)? How have your groups dealt with them? What do you wish had happened? What was great? What was the evidence that was convincing? And what was the long term impact on the group?

additional question: since the police/agents of the state are also experts at getting information from those of us who are not intending to give them anything, suggestions about how to resist their techniques (besides not talking without a lawyer, which is great advice but only goes so far).

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Comments

Thanks but is there a way to download these texts outside of Google?

Just use Tor/Betternet or any free proxy server (http://www.surfsafely.com/proxy-sites-free-proxy-servers-list/3/ & https://free-proxy-list.net/) to make a Gmail account. Use that to login and download whatever you want, and then delete/never use the Gmail account again. I use Gmail accounts as one time throw away keys into sites like this that I don't want to register with.

Snitches don't have personal ethics

A situation could exist in which one snitches because they gain something or get revenge for something regarding a personal ethic

But these aren't PERSONAL ethics, but rather morals inculcated by society. Especially things like the quest for power, possession, glory, privilege, family values, etc. Like daon't tell me that "these guys burned my damn car/stole my girlfiend" is resentment rooted in personal ethics.

Yes true, many confuse ones own code with the social moral laws, although I'd hold back on including family values as a completely morally structured relational web. Partially yes, but as a protective educational mechanism to familiarize family members with the immoral tendencies equally present within the social matrix. A common cultural binary relationship, swapping ethics or styling them appropriately to the dominant moral authority.

Having open meetings means accepting a certain amount of risk. Paranoid allegations aimed at new people is worse than having snitches attend a few of your public meetings.

Better to have a clear understanding in your groups about what information is "sensitive" and shouldn't be discussed in open meetings.

or maybe that isn't better! it depends what you're trying to do.

Yeah, I meant assuming the open meetings are desirable at all. I personally think there should be ways for new people to plug in that don't compromise anything/anyone

Offer them a joint. 90% of undercover don't smoke, while 15% of normal people do. That means 5% are suspect if they don't smoke, and who would want to hang out with them anyway?

Hah not a very exact method (you damn hippy), I worked at a dispensary for a year, chronic for most of my life but I don't get high in social situations except with people I've known a long time because it makes me shy. There's no easy fix with security culture.

Pffft! In Kanuhda the pigs are big weed smokers... and sellers too. It's all with the moral hypocrisy of the job. Offer weed to too many people you don't know and you'll end up being either (1) charged over it thanks to the undercover who smoked with ya, or (2) taken for some sub-capitalist drug-dealer.

I'd like to know what the author(s) refer to as those few people being "off". What does it mean to them? They weren't enough countercultural to their tastes, or just too apparently remote from their affinities?

Foggy texts for empty answers.

the fogginess is relevant, actually. in the moment it wasn't clear what was wrong and/or just different about them. we also (as you apparently do) wanted to be open to people who were different from us subculturally, or whatevs, and that might have played/probably did play into the lack of decisive action on our part.
now i could say that, yea, they didn't dress quite exactly like we did, but not different enough to be really meaningful. maybe they didn't laugh at the jokes we laughed at (who can remember now what that might have been caused by), they didn't participate much (again, entirely understandable). they weren't the fire-breathing instigators, like FBI (etc) moles can be, they were good christians who were trying to find out what we already knew and whether we were going to be showing up at their break-of-dawn brainwashing sessions before their clinic attacks, etc.
YMMV

OP here... Ok thanks for clarifying. Perhaps your concerns were well-grounded then. Even though FBI knows well the idea of cultural infiltration, there are aspects of that "natural" complicity that are very hard for them to hack. The deep codes that sometimes brings us together are hard to understand, even to ourself. I've been cut off from these, sadly, enough to understand the border between fake and authentic.

So, I've personally been targeted by undercover/infiltrators as well as several organizations I've run with over the years. It was always in the context of some high-profile event in the city with a lot of popular opposition because presumably, many of these infiltration operations get their inflated budgets approved by forecasting dissent towards these high-profile events. That's not the only way to predict these types of ops by the enemy, it's just what I've experienced.

These pigs and tools showed up well in advance (6 months to a year or more) and embedded themselves in our organizations and also our person lives. Relatively charming, generous and helpful as well as deliberately exploiting vulnerabilities to do with identity politics like the fact that predominantly white activist groups are less likely to challenge POC and other marginalized identities. The infiltrator closest to me attempted to entrap me in a sizeable trafficking charge, completely unrelated to any of our political activities, I'd known this person for about 6 months at that time.

Since then, I've thought a lot about it and the only solid conclusions are pretty damned simple. Make infiltration prohibitively expensive with things like time-walls: don't take risks with other people until you've known them for several years at least. This is why we need the "infrastructure" and subcultural scenes in the grey area between activism and more militant resistance. We need social spaces and a larger community through which to develop relationships that are strong enough to allow us to find and get to know each other, while developing skills and capacity for more serious resistance.

This means you can't just pop in and out while also expecting people to trust you with high-stakes action. You can't afford to be so anti-social and full of critiques of anything that might have SOME leftist tendencies and also expect to get anywhere developing the fighting capacity of the milieu. Everything I've said assumes certain things about goals and obviously this website offers a lot of proof that many "anarchists" here aren't interested in serious resistance, which is fine. I'm not talking to them.

But if you think anarchism is about active resistance, you'll need to help carefully build and maintain a strong community over many years. Otherwise, you're at best, wasting your time or worse, making yourself and your friends in to easy targets for the younger pigs looking to put notches in their belts.

ask for id look them up on facebook

Seriously ..?

"Having open meetings means accepting a certain amount of risk. Paranoid allegations aimed at new people is worse than having snitches attend a few of your public meetings.

Better to have a clear understanding in your groups about what information is "sensitive" and shouldn't be discussed in open meetings."

This is the best attitude to have i believe, the state already uses fear to its adavantage to the point that its paralyzing, better to be really secretive (as in trusting only people who've handled your confidential information before gracefully) if you going to do something illegal. With political stuff theres a need for secrecy more than being a drug-dealer.

OP here, thanks! Funny but true fact: being a drug dealer is a great way to learn the practical applications of security culture. The more you know!

G20 Main Conspiracy zine, probably the most in-depth analysis of police surveillance and infiltration at convergences. Set in Canada but relevant in the US. Written in late 2011:

https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2014/08/12/18759937.php

They shoulda made an addendum just for this major mega-snitch in Quebec who's been an RCP kingpin for years. He was related to the Quebec aspect of the anti-G20 organizing. RCP and their accomplices went through great lengths to keep the matter hush-hush.

Ummmm, details? You can't just throw a vague thing like that out there. Canada isn't that big of a place.

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