A retired Philadelphia, Penn., police captain recently said the federal government routinely uses provocateurs against demonstrators to discredit them in the eyes of the public.
Capt. Ray Lewis, who retired from the Philadelphia Police Department in 2004 after serving 24 years and was present during the 2011 Occupy Wall Street protests, said undercover provocateurs “infiltrated Occupy Wall Street like crazy” as a way to influence public opinion against the protestors, a strategy which is also used against other movements critical of the establishment.
“That’s the easiest way to destroy a movement,” he stated. “Let’s say you have Occupy. Either the police, Homeland Security or corporate America – Wall Street – will hire one of their security officers to go out there and burn the American flag, so now you have one of these guys burning an American flag and he’s not an Occupier, he’s not with the protestors, but guess what gets shown all across America?”
“All mainstream America, sitting at home in their middle-class neighborhoods, see this one guy burning an American flag or another one urinating on a police car who is also an undercover agent and then think ‘oh my God, that whole protest – that whole movement – is corrupt and I don’t want anything to do with it.'”
“So they never learn anything about it,” he added. “You can kill a movement that fast with provocateurs.”
The government can also use provocateurs to stir up violence at otherwise peaceful demonstrations to justify a draconian response to the protest and the militarization of local law enforcement.
For example, radio host Dave Hodges claimed a Department of Homeland Security source told him the violent rioting and looting in Ferguson, Missouri, last week “was encouraged and exacerbated by undercover DHS agents posing as members of the Black Panthers.”
The police used this violence to justify giving unconstitutional orders to peaceful protestors in Ferguson, who were the vast majority of those present, while armed with combat gear more suited for war in Iraq and Afghanistan than the American Midwest.
They receive the majority of this military arsenal directly from the Defense Department through the 1033 Military Surplus Property Program.
“They also have access to billions of dollars’ worth of funding from the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security, which they can use to buy military equipment from weapons manufacturers, who line their pockets with the spoils,” Kara Dansky, a senior counsel at the ACLU’s Center for Justice, wrote.
In summary, provocateurs give local police the excuse to transform into small armies by provoking violent confrontations between law enforcement and demonstrators which is then broadcast to the entire nation through exhaustive news coverage.
This unfortunately programs the population into accepting not only the militarization of the police, but also a vast expansion of government powers offered to supposedly stop the violence which in reality only eliminate individual liberties.