There are people in the movement who exist
solely to sabotage activists
I have no time or inclination to consider all of the “what ifs” when I decide to take action — within the movement or in life, in general. The mentality that embraces potential obstacles rather than solutions is an impediment to progress. I firmly believe in taking a stand and following through on my own terms.
Here’s the problem: it’s well-known that there are industry-paid plants within the movement that exist solely to discredit activists and further marginalize animal rights. For those of us who refuse to be passive, quiet and tolerant, our passion is a threat. Yet, our passion also provides the mechanism by which a calculating agent provocateur can manipulate any one of us. We all have a “sixth sense”… something that tells us something is not right… and to dismiss this survival instinct is sheer foolishness.
The Agent Provocateur
There are hallmark characteristics of the agent provocateur which include, but are not limited to:
1) an individual appears suddenly with no known history – may possibly be
thrust into the national spotlight — and is embraced by the movement;
I want to share a few characteristics of which we all need to be aware. I’ve always dismissed idiocy but now I recognize that there are behaviors that, while individually may be taken in jest, when viewed as a whole create an extremely troublesome pattern. These are serious issues and we never know exactly with whom we’re dealing:
1-Criminal Activity : To the best of my knowledge, the brave freedom fighters who carry out ALF raids do so with the utmost preparation and security measures in place. These are not the actions to which I refer. There are individuals that will encourage an animal rights activist to get themselves arrested for the hell of it… to make a name for themselves. Now, I generally laugh these things off. They’re usually so asinine that, until recently, they didn’t even register on my radar as anything other than ranting. I am no longer laughing.
These plans start out somewhat innocuously and may evolve into plans for exterminating huge segments of the population. One such conspiracy that was introduced over the summer: an attempt to rally me and at least two other activists to poison the food supply. Some of us have written hypothetical pieces essentially asking “what will it take for people to stop murdering innocent animals so they can ingest their mutilated body parts?”. None of us has ever seriously introduced the idea of a mass extermination of humans. But the plot was nonetheless hatched in a hotel room and, while it was dismissed as lunacy, I knew when I looked into this person’s eyes that something was disingenuous. I do not believe these were the ravings of a madman.
There may be activists out there at this very moment who are considering doing things that are simply counter-productive and self-destructive. If your heart is telling you that something is wrong, STOP and take a step back. Before engaging, examine your motivation and be cautious.
2-Security Issues: There’s no question that state oppression seeks to crush the animal rights movement. And our own safety is paramount if we are to be effective activists. When we are advised to do things that jeopardize us, STOP. Something is wrong.
If we have associates who refuse to engage on security issues and, in fact, summarily dismiss them, this is a huge problem. My own arrogance about refusing “to cower to the oppressor” (something I’ve always believed and still maintain) seems to have left me open a little. I will not apologize for waging a personal war against a heartless violent culture that embraces and demands nonhuman genocide. It’s sickens me. It’s abhorrent. And if I know of abuse, it is my job to expose it. I believe this. That will not change.
However, when one supports these convictions with words, yet advises things like “disclaimers make you look weak”… RED FLAG. No one who has our best interest or that of the movement at heart would advise anything that would jeopardize us.
3-Divide and Conquer: Anyone who reads this blog knows that there is no question where I fall on certain issues. For example, pacifism in the animal rights movement, as well as complacency and apathy in general, are malignancies that need to be eradicated. But, when one tries to deliberately create obstacles between friends and/or allies, we need to STOP and examine what is going on.
When someone creates a situation and then makes impotent attempts to convince us that someone else is to blame, this is a red flag. When someone degrades our friends, thus trying to divide alliances, this is a problem. Fortunately, my loyalties are not easily allayed. I hope others will not let one friend/ally turn them against another.
In a broader sense, when different factions in the movement are in conflict and debate, the agent provocateur may step forward to foster unproductive drama and incite chaos. On this count I need to be somewhat specific. There has been an ongoing fray between the pacifist abolitionist and the militant abolitionist camps of the animal rights movement, led respectively by Professor Gary Francione and Dr. Steven Best. At first it was shocking that one of our own would turn on his allies and begin to supply the pacifist camp with private information, even going so far as to sabotage the Negotiation is Over website. Said individual is circulating malicious gossip to UTEP, actively seeking to malign Dr. Best’s character and extinguish his career. Simultaneously, this individual is now posting anti-violence/pacifist blogs and pro-violence/militant entries with absolutely no grounding in one ideology or the other. Although the method might appear to be madness, I believe it is an injection of calculated chaos.
4-Self-Preservation: We know when someone is not concerned with our well-being… when malicious actions are consistently antithetical to friendly words, this is beyond a red flag… this is proof that something is amiss. STOP and examine with whom you are allied. For every activist that is silenced, the death industries win another battle.
But the war wages on and this is my wake-up call for every activist to critically examine those with whom they are aligned. These are some of the more glaring examples of my experience and, in retrospect, I think I came out fairly unscathed. People have gone to prison or have been destroyed by these tactics. Individually, each incident can be rationalized, discounted as stupidity, or entirely dismissed. Taken as a whole, these behaviors indicate a consistent pattern of sabotage.
Further, it is important to understand this in an historical context. The case of Fran Trutt provides a sobering example of how the behaviors I’ve highlighted above may converge in the life of an activist to utterly damage the person and discredit the movement as a whole. In How Corporate Provocateurs Made Fran Trutt an “Animal Rights Terrorist”, Will Potter examines the depths to which the death industry sadists will sink. They will capitalize on any perceived weakness they can exploit.
Fran Trutt’s allies were actually agents paid by U.S. Surgical Corporation (blood-money vivisection capitalists) to incite this woman to strike out against the president of the company. It is recorded in the official record that she would never have undertaken this course of action without consistent encouragement from the agent provocateurs. Further, when Trutt had misgivings about following through with the plot, she was encouraged and urged to plant the bomb. Fran Trutt was nonetheless convicted of attempted murder in 1988.
We all know that we may be under observation at protests. In terms of the accounts of feds infiltrating vegan potlucks, the significance eluded me. While I don’t believe there is too much sensitive animal rights campaigning being discussed at these events, these are ideal venues to befriend activists and cultivate a friendship. And, clearly, informants need to gain access to the inner circle for their treachery to command a pricetag.
Every environmental and animal rights activist needs to be familiar with the FBI’s counter-intelligence program (COINTELPRO) which was initially employed from 1958 through 1971 and understand that these tactics have evolved and are at play throughout the movement:
“According to FBI records, 85% of COINTELPRO resources were expended on infiltrating, disrupting, marginalizing, and/or subverting groups suspected of being subversive, such as communist and socialist organizations; the women’s rights movement; people suspected of building a “coalition of militant black nationalist groups” ranging from the Nation of Islam, The Black Panther Party and Republic of New Afrika to “those in the non-violent civil rights movement” such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and others associated with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Congress of Racial Equality, and other civil rights groups; a broad range of organizations labeled “New Left“, including Students for a Democratic Society, the National Lawyers Guild, the Weathermen, almost all groups protesting the Vietnam War, and even individual student demonstrators with no group affiliation; and nationalist groups such as those “seeking independence for Puerto Rico.” The other 15% of COINTELPRO resources were expended to marginalize and subvert “white hate groups,” including the Ku Klux Klan and National States’ Rights Party. 
The directives governing COINTELPRO were issued by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, who ordered FBI agents to “expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize” the activities of these movements and their leaders.
Knowledge is power and in this case it is simply a matter of survival. We need to understand the history and motivations of the deviant and soulless infiltrators. We need to arm ourselves with information and understand the Security Culture.
While I choose not to speak in terms of names, places and specifics (and at some point I may need to write a book), I believe there are well-meaning animal rights activists who see themselves in my words and will hopefully take heed. Trust needs to be earned, not given away with a ribbon. Understand that the corporate-state complex wants to destroy this movement and silence our voices. When individuals get up on a stage behind a microphone and tout uncompromising veganism while they wear leather boots and belts, this is a sign. When people incite destructive and unproductive courses of action and encourage dissent, if we dismiss them as misguided rather than cold and treacherous, we do so at our own peril… and that of the nonhuman animals that depend on us.