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FBI After Vegans
May 27, 2008 2:29 PM   Subscribe

The FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force is infiltrating vegan potluck dinners (via the Harper's Weekly Review)
posted by punkbitch (66 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
All participants get a complimentary DVD of "The Lives of Others".
posted by Artw at 2:33 PM on May 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


Narcs, agents provocateur, and police false flag operatives can go die in a fire.

I feel like I had a rare and useful experience in getting a kindergarten teacher who told the class that if no one was being injured, don't be a tattletale.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 2:36 PM on May 27, 2008 [4 favorites]


Because the war on terror won't be truly won until we're all terrorists.
posted by Naberius at 2:37 PM on May 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


I can think of no better, more patriotic use for my tax dollars than Operation Hurf Durf Legume Eaters.
posted by FelliniBlank at 2:37 PM on May 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


If you eat hummus, you're with the terrorists.
posted by optovox at 2:39 PM on May 27, 2008


The FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force is infiltrating vegan potluck dinners

It's about goddamn time.
posted by tkchrist at 2:44 PM on May 27, 2008 [4 favorites]


Maybe it's just the style of the article, but it didn't really seem like the FBI put much pressure on this Carroll guy. They asked him to spy on his friends for maybe some vague amount of money and then let him off the hook after he said "I'll pass"?

C'mon FBI, you're never going to find a date to the prom without a little self-confidence.
posted by mullacc at 2:45 PM on May 27, 2008


this is my seething, meatless outrage.
posted by quonsar at 2:46 PM on May 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


You guys are so naive. Don't you know Soylent Green is made from PEOPLE?
posted by The Bellman at 2:47 PM on May 27, 2008


This must be related to Hezbollah Tofu, previously on Mefi.
posted by grounded at 2:50 PM on May 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is fucking outrageous.

Amongst people who go to critical mass, it seems like a large number of people who would love nothing more than to be the victim of government opression maaaan (there usually many more reasonable people, it just depends on where you are). Amongst cops you've got a large contingent that wants nothing more than to crack down on the long hairs.

Both of these groups crave drama, and now they're getting it, at the expense of our society resembling a playground turf war.
posted by phrontist at 2:52 PM on May 27, 2008 [5 favorites]


You know who else created an authoritarian police state?
posted by Citizen Premier at 2:54 PM on May 27, 2008 [6 favorites]


Site down, here's a cache.
posted by lubujackson at 2:57 PM on May 27, 2008


The informant wouldn't last a day. Never heard of seitan, lacks a smug sense of superiority. They'd be on to him in minutes.

(I kid because I love)
posted by naju at 2:58 PM on May 27, 2008


I'm choking for air with phrontist's big fat false equivalency plopped into the middle of the room here. Can someone open a window?
posted by Space Coyote at 3:02 PM on May 27, 2008 [4 favorites]


You know who else created an a vegetarian authoritarian police state?

Hitler was a veggie, according to Wikipedia. The FBI are probably just researching good recipes.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:07 PM on May 27, 2008


I'm choking for air with phrontist's big fat false equivalency plopped into the middle of the room here. Can someone open a window?

I'm still trying to figure out his grammar, myself.
posted by Caduceus at 3:08 PM on May 27, 2008


I want to have an opinion on this but...I just can't. "FBI infiltrates vegan potluck dinners". It makes no sense.
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:11 PM on May 27, 2008


Hitler was a veggie, according to Wikipedia.

Hitler had a lifelong digestive problem, and had a special diet consisting mostly of cabbage and beans prescribed to him by his quack personal physician. This had the side effect of making him unbearably flatulent, and Der Fuehrer's Fartz were said to bring tears to people's eyes. He would occasionally eat sausages and other meat anyway, even though it caused him pain. He played up the fact that he "didn't eat meat" in his propaganda in order to portray himself as an ascetic dedicated totally to the Fatherland. He also claimed to be asexual and "married to Germany" while secretly shtupping Eva Braun.
posted by DecemberBoy at 3:16 PM on May 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


It is best to never underestimate the lengths that security agencies will go to when they are investigating groups or individuals they feel are a security threat. They make mistakes too.

You can read about the Air India bombing here, chatter among us Canadians tends to favour the opinion that all the lost and mishandled evidence in this case was lost due to the fact it implicated government security agencies who had infiltrated the group and were involved at some level in the planning/training/execution of the bombing (of course that is not the official version) -- because of this, the probable conspirators are walking free.

In Canada CSIS has been involved in activity against Quebec seperatists who in spite of their faults are largely peaceful and democratic. Rumours in Western Canada persist that neo-Nazi ties which appeared to exisit between the Reform Party and neo-Nazis were largely related to racist rallies staged by CSIS -- these rallies seemed to flare up and then disappear -- When I attended University in the 90's I had pudgy, middle-aged professors who talked about Mounties sitting in their clases in the 1960's.

That said, its all rumour and nobody really know who these people are and what exactly they were looking for or trying to do.
posted by Deep Dish at 3:25 PM on May 27, 2008


Also he was a total iSketch junkie.
posted by Artw at 3:26 PM on May 27, 2008


Based on the article title it looks more like they're infiltrating Mexican dinner parties looking for complex, spicy sauces.
posted by GuyZero at 3:34 PM on May 27, 2008


As silly as the idea of the FBI kinda-sorta pulling the "hey, do you wanna be a spy, maybe?" thing is, at the very root of this, aren't they suggesting that they want to treat political protesters as terrorists? Or, at the very least, view their actions through the lens of terror tactics?

Because unless there is a strong, well-documented correlation between political protesters and actual terrorists, you know, individuals who have tried to blow shit up, and kill people, then this kind of attitude is bullshit.
posted by quin at 3:37 PM on May 27, 2008


the mole page
posted by punkbitch at 3:38 PM on May 27, 2008


I, myself, am an infiltrate, in the sense that I am both wicked and opposed to undue gravity.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:39 PM on May 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


that they want to treat political protesters as terrorists?

kill two birds with one stone. The Man was all over this modus operandi in the Vietnam protest era. I recently got off ebay a used 1975 People's Almanac that has a great deal of this lost history.

See also Fahrenheit 9/11, wherein the regulary attendee of a Fresno peace group turned out to be a deputy sheriff (they learned about it when the deputy died in a car crash while on duty).
posted by tachikaze at 3:44 PM on May 27, 2008


quin: "Because unless there is a strong, well-documented correlation between political protesters and actual terrorists, you know, individuals who have tried to blow shit up, and kill people, then this kind of attitude is bullshit."

It is well documented that the animal rights dude from the Army of the Twelve Monkeys went on to blow up all the credit card buildings. It's a fact.
posted by team lowkey at 3:51 PM on May 27, 2008 [5 favorites]


Outrageous. As a vegan and a terrorist I am deeply disturbed.
posted by brevator at 4:04 PM on May 27, 2008 [3 favorites]


The right thing to do is agree to work with them, yield no useful information, and collect as much info about the FBI's probes as possible to report back to the community and the news media. What this country lacks is effective counter-intelligence, goddammit.
posted by kaibutsu at 4:11 PM on May 27, 2008 [11 favorites]


The FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force is infiltrating vegan potluck dinners


In a related story, ashen-faced FBI operatives were observed in late night burger joints stuffing their faces with double sliders, root beer and chili fries.
posted by CynicalKnight at 4:16 PM on May 27, 2008 [4 favorites]


So would all my vegetarian cookbooks be considered terrorist propaganda? You should see all the lentils in my pantry!
posted by idiotfactory at 4:39 PM on May 27, 2008


Anthony Bourdain once referred to vegans as vegetarianism's "Hezbollah-like splinter faction," so maybe he's behind this.
posted by jonmc at 4:40 PM on May 27, 2008


I don't really have much of a comment on the whole spying thing, but Harper's online weekly review is pretty cool.
posted by eclectist at 4:44 PM on May 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


this is interesting, but not shocking, to say the least. Various enforcement agencies have long spied on vegan organizations due to activities attributed to the ALF and other radical groups. Many people who self-identify as vegan are often involved directly or indirectly with political activism - some of which can get pretty radical.

This is not to say that it's right - clearly it's not. But it does show that the FBI has some semblance of a clue. Look at the demographics in order to narrow in on the target (like marketing does already.)
posted by elwoodwiles at 4:47 PM on May 27, 2008


This is complete and utter bullshit. I can't think of a worse way to spend tax money. Except, maybe by buying a bag of crack rocks and smoking crack.

Pathetic..
posted by kuatto at 4:51 PM on May 27, 2008


I was at the WTO protests in Seattle back in '99, and I saw tens of thousands of peaceful protesters, and the news only showed footage of about a dozen or so "anarchists" from Oregon (it was said), who came to deliberately smash windows and Starbuckses and such. I don't believe these people were violent in the sense of causing physical harm, but they certainly wanted to smash shit up out of an utterly confused sense of importance. That was not cool at all.

So in that context, let me be devil's advocate here...if I were an FBI agent I would know about the existence of these anarchist groups, but maybe I wouldn't know how to get to them. So I do this thing--recruit folks to check out vegan potlucks--in order to find members of a specific group, or find out about the anarchist network, etc. I don't see the harm in that, of course assuming that the run of the mill anti-Republican lefty at these things isn't targeted in any way. The truth is that I don't trust the feds to use the info in a lawful or ethical manner, but if done by the book, I don't see the harm.
posted by zardoz at 4:54 PM on May 27, 2008


I'm positive that the FBI is spending a precisely equal amount of tax dollars to infiltrate Denver-area NRA chapters and talk-radio fanclubs to gather info on potentially disruptive Democratic convention protesters.
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:04 PM on May 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


certainly wanted to smash shit up out of an utterly confused sense of importance

I've heard that the cops in minneapolis are getting ready to crack skulls, and every cop in st Paul just got a new tazer.

Confused sense of importance indeed, there's heaps of that going around.
posted by kuatto at 5:04 PM on May 27, 2008


Perhaps they were wanting to learn some new recipes?
posted by Afroblanco at 5:05 PM on May 27, 2008


zardoz: That sure sounds like "If you've done nothing wrong you have nothing to hide" to me.
posted by aspo at 5:20 PM on May 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


I've heard that the cops in minneapolis are getting ready to crack skulls, and every cop in st Paul just got a new tazer.

They are bringing in police from surrounding areas to help out with the whole thing. I've got a first cousin who's a cop from $outstate_mn and he told me that he was going to be on duty at the RNC. I jokingly made him promise to only taze me lightly.

(He's the best guy you'll ever meet, btw.)
posted by unixrat at 6:06 PM on May 27, 2008


So I do this thing--recruit folks to check out vegan potlucks--in order to find members of a specific group, or find out about the anarchist network, etc.

Mm, nope, it's still the dumbest fucking thing I ever heard. I'm sure some members of ALF are vegans, just as I'm sure that Timothy McVeigh enjoyed a delicious burger now and then. So why not infiltrate tables of four at Fuddrucker's? Deep cover at a chili cook-off? Subpoena the records of allrecipes.com?

It's something to do when you don't have anything to do. Actual investigation is way too difficult for most law enforcement officers, because they are generally lazy or stupid or both. "Going undercover" is what they do when they don't have anything productive to do. It's the working man's equivalent of telecommuting: sit on your ass all day, do like ten minutes of work, and still get paid for eight hours.

Hey, you know who's still at large? Osama Motherfucking bin Laden. If the feds are so fucking bored that they're going to fucking potlucks, why not take a transfer over to the CIA and maybe try to find out where the fucking guy behind 9/11 is spending his fucking retirement?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:14 PM on May 27, 2008 [8 favorites]


I read the Feds are only paying moles when their tip leads to an arrest. So naturally what happens? The moles stir up trouble at assemblies to get the money coming in.
posted by chance at 6:25 PM on May 27, 2008


The Feds are paying $ 6.02 x 1023 for information leading to the arrest of vegans? Even I don't love meat that much!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 7:07 PM on May 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


Damned vegematarians, anyway. Why do they hate America??
posted by spirit72 at 7:14 PM on May 27, 2008


Hey, you know who's still at large? Osama Motherfucking bin Laden. If the feds are so fucking bored that they're going to fucking potlucks, why not take a transfer over to the CIA and maybe try to find out where the fucking guy behind 9/11 is spending his fucking retirement?

Think about it a 6 foot+ tall, rail thin guy with a beard who has spent the last two decades trekking in central asia on some spiritual quest. He'd blend right in at the vegan potluck right up until the point he starts talking about jihad on this, and death to that. Maybe the FBI is onto something.
posted by humanfont at 7:44 PM on May 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


aspo:zardoz: That sure sounds like "If you've done nothing wrong you have nothing to hide" to me.

Well, if I can rephrase my closing statement: I certainly don't trust the feds to use whatever info they get on people responsibly, given this administration's behavior. But as a police exercise, I don't get the controversy. There are narcs infiltrating all sorts of places like schools where most folks aren't bad guys, yet we trust them to overlook the good guys and zero in on the bad guys.

Optimus Chyme:Mm, nope, it's still the dumbest fucking thing I ever heard. I'm sure some members of ALF are vegans, just as I'm sure that Timothy McVeigh enjoyed a delicious burger now and then. So why not infiltrate tables of four at Fuddrucker's? Deep cover at a chili cook-off? Subpoena the records of allrecipes.com?

That's my point: they don't know what the fuck to do. The FBI director, or whoever, says to some agents: "You gotta find me names on Anarchist group X. I'll give you a month. Good luck! Oh, and if you don't get names, you're demoted to the Butte field office for two years." So some agent brainstormed this vegan potluck. Maybe they had some leads, a tip about some anarchist attending vegan potlucks...who knows? This seems like excessive hand-wringing about a rather weird investigation that no one outside the FBI knows the full facts about.
posted by zardoz at 8:01 PM on May 27, 2008


There are narcs infiltrating all sorts of places like schools where most folks aren't bad guys, yet we trust them to overlook the good guys and zero in on the bad guys.

Good thing we're not Stazi-like, yet.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:10 PM on May 27, 2008


Be sure to try the guacointelproamole.
posted by Kinbote at 8:26 PM on May 27, 2008


I was at the WTO protests in Seattle back in '99, and I saw tens of thousands of peaceful protesters, and the news only showed footage of about a dozen or so "anarchists" from Oregon (it was said), who came to deliberately smash windows and Starbuckses and such. I don't believe these people were violent in the sense of causing physical harm, but they certainly wanted to smash shit up out of an utterly confused sense of importance. That was not cool at all.

The hardest part of non-violent protest on a large scale is to keep out the violence. That was perhaps Martin Luther King's greatest gift and allowed so many of his accomplishments. His vision for peace was even more grand than his vision for equality. Martyrdom on a large scale is a potent weapon of radical change. Throw in even a slight bit of violence or even anger on the protester's part and the whole message of martyrdom is lost.
posted by caddis at 9:05 PM on May 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


It is really, really weird to have one's real life and friends commented upon in Metafilter. Really weird.

Long story short: the JTTF have been harassing activists in the Twin Cities for years (they declared Students Against War and Food Not Bombs "terrorists" in 2003), and we will be seeing (possibly much) more of this in the months to come. The story here seems pretty mild, but when taken in the context of the Green Scare and other harassment that has been happening of activists in the Midwest and across the country, it begins to look like a concerted campaign of suppression of dissent. It's scary, the direction that this country is going in.
posted by streetdreams at 9:13 PM on May 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Optimus Chyme said "I'm sure some members of ALF are vegans [...]

No, he liked cats.
posted by loiseau at 9:24 PM on May 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


guacointelproamole.

IM IN UR POTLUCK
DOSING UR FOODZ
posted by swell at 9:36 PM on May 27, 2008


Annoyingly, the article didn't say whether he refused the FBI's offer to act as a mole out of political conviction, or because vegan food sucks dead dingoes' balls.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:28 PM on May 27, 2008


Man, someone needs to take everyone in power and dose all their foodz, 'cause they need that shit desperately.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 10:38 PM on May 27, 2008


You guys are missing the point. The FBI used agent provacateurs and false flag agents to stir up and/or create violence to be blamed on the vegans, giving police an excuse for brutality and 1st Amendment violations.

Does no one remember that YouTube from last year where the Canadian gov't infiltrated some peaceful protesters and chucked bricks at the riot cops in order to get some quiet lawyers tear gassed and beaten?

TERRORIST GOVERNMENT

posted by vsync at 2:07 AM on May 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


Oh, the veganity!
posted by asok at 3:38 AM on May 28, 2008


I hate to nit-pick the article's researchers here, but the JTTF is not "the FBI's" it's "Joint" meaning it's made up of several agencies, the FBI being one of them.
posted by Pollomacho at 4:59 AM on May 28, 2008


I think there are a lot of people taking the phrase "vegan potlucks" too literally. I suspect that the FBI agent didn't really mean that this was their primary focus, but was using it as a shorthand, basically for "all that hippy stuff you're into." It doesn't sound like the intent was to infiltrate vegan pot-luck dinners per se, but the anti-war movement generally.

Anyway, backing up away from this particular event and just looking at the whole issue from a very high level, I think this is the inevitable consequence of the way "anti-terrorism" is being handled in the U.S. As long as we persist in creating domestic agencies that just have the responsibility of 'preventing terrorist attacks' (with the other side of the coin being, they'll pretty much be held responsible when one inevitably slips through), they're going to do stuff like this.

They'll do it because there's no way to prevent all terrorist attacks, everywhere, besides trying to monitor and keep tabs on everyone, everywhere, all the time. But as long as citizens demand and vote for governments who make empty security promises, they'll hire second-rate bureaucrats to flesh out those promises as best they can, and this -- and the wiretapping, and the Internet eavesdropping, and who knows what else -- is the sort of stuff we're going to be shackled with.

I don't think there's any magic solution while retaining our current attitudes towards terrorism prevention; as long as you have catch-all agencies (or in this case, as Pollomacho correctly points out, inter-agency "task forces") filled with people who are paid to be paranoid, given lots of domestic power, you're going to see them go after anything and anyone that looks 'different.'

In the short run, you could probably mitigate the tendency to focus on leftist political causes if the FBI and other agencies made a concerted effort to recruit people who didn't fit the typical conservative/law-enforcement stereotype. But that's just treating a symptom and not the disease itself. The disease is the security-at-all-costs mindset; everything flows downhill from that.
posted by Kadin2048 at 7:35 AM on May 28, 2008


OK, OK, I'm not going to make apologies for all the actions of security agencies here, but I am a person who does not fit the conservative/law-enforcement stereotype recruited to serve in a government security organization (no, I do not infiltrate anyone). I will say that if you want to see the view of the threat of "vegan potlucks" in the figurative sense that Kadin2048 at work, that this 2002 Congressional testimony from James Jerobe the Domestic Chief of the FBI Division of Counterterrorism out lining the threat of Eco-terrorists. What he says is pretty consistant with any training I've received on terrorist organizations. The focus, from what I've see, has never been on infiltrating lefties to snub out their political tendencies, if it were they'd have to fire the half of the staff that wouldn't have already quit. The focus has been on getting into the actually dangerous groups. If agents were trying to infiltrate actual vegan potlucks, it was because they were trying to spot the radicals and get them to introduce them to their more and more radical friends.

See, that's how undercover investigations work. You don't walk up to John Gotti and say, "hi, can you tell me about your muder and extorsion ring on this tape?" You get in with small time folks on the outside, you get introduced to bigger players, you build your intelligence network, so on and so forth until you know who is at the top and what their actions are going to be. With a group like ELF, you'd want to go to PETA rallies and, yep, vegan potlucks, until you get deeper into the radical eco-terror networks.

What's shocking to us is not that they would want to infiltrate radical groups, but that they would dare to infiltrate groups that are closer to the majority MeFi belief set. Assumptions are that this is a targeted action against the left in general. Would anyone here shed a tear to know that the FBI has plants in the KKK? They surely do. How about Westboro Baptist Church? Guess what, there's probably a plant there too, or at least there was and he/she has moved deeper.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:02 AM on May 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


There's an FBI - tofu joke in here somewhere.

This government's priorities are so horribly awry that I have no idea where to begin being angry, thus, I joke.
posted by theora55 at 11:30 AM on May 28, 2008


Yeah, eco-terrorists. The one group of terrorists that has an ethos of not killing anyone.

Gotta protect those SUVs.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 11:57 AM on May 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


The one group of terrorists that has an ethos of not killing anyone.

Except for when they don't.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:22 PM on May 28, 2008


This sucks, but it's just funny and sad compared to the erosion of civil liberties that's happening with barely a whimper at the same time. The Cities of St. Paul and Burnsville have passed laws requiring advance permits to be acquired prior to protests, with Minneapolis expected to pass one as well. We'll see the ridiculous "free speech zones" that we've come to expect, well away from the action and inside chain-link fences, which designate the animals inside as fringe loonies. I expect we'll also see a bunch of arrests to clear areas of undesireables, with the suspects released without charge at the last permissible moment.

And Minnesota is supposed to be a progressive state.
posted by norm at 12:37 PM on May 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


You read that article? They try to tie Kaczynski into it because he subscribed to a newsletter and his general anti-technology thing included some environmentalism, and assume the Fortuyn assassination was an ecoterrorist act, which goes against the assassin's statement. That's all.

I mean, the police should work against the eco-terrorists, but the Green Scare is even more overblown than the rest of the War on Terror.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 12:49 PM on May 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Pollomacho: Except of course, in 1999 the FBI did get into the business of busting and arresting non-violent activist groups with the intent of keeping protest organizers tied up during the Democratic convention. It didn't work and the judge rejected requests that protesters be held on million-dollar bail for possession of turpentine and palm pilots.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 5:28 PM on May 28, 2008


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