Informers Are Everywhere!
from No Compromise Issue 7
 

There are actually two kinds of informers. The deliberate informer is someone who infiltrates an organization with the specific intent of getting incriminating evidence against activists or even setting them up to be arrested. These infiltrators are either on the payroll of a government agency or are hired by those in the animal exploitation business. The second type of informer is the activist-turned-informant--either unwittingly or because of pressure put on them by the authorities. Make no mistake, both kinds exist all through our ranks and are equally dangerous.

Let's discuss the deliberate informer (infiltrator) first. They are often difficult to identify, they come in all ages and types, but they usually have a similar modus operandi--they come out of nowhere and all of a sudden, they are everywhere. Whether it's a meeting, a protest, or an action, this person will be right in the thick of it. Unfortunately, this is also the hallmark of a new activist, whose enthusiasm and commitment is so strong that s/he wants to fight the animal abusers every minute of the day.

How to tell them apart? Well, a planted infiltrator will ask a lot of questions about the A.L.F. and illegal activities. S/he will suggest targets and volunteer to do reconnaissance as well as take part in the action. A few years ago, U.S. Surgical hired a security firm to infiltrate Friends of Animals in Connecticut. Their operative convinced an activist to put a pipe bomb in the car of the president of U.S. Surgical. Needless to say, the police were waiting for her and she is now serving time for attempted murder. (Note: NC is not endorsing murder as a tactic for fighting the cause of animal liberation)

Everyone who asks a lot of questions about the A.L.F. isn't necessarily an infiltrator, but they ARE the ones to watch. Explain to new activists that one doesn't "join" the A.L.F. and that it is dangerous to ask a lot of questions about it. If the person persists in asking questions, STAY AWAY FROM THAT PERSON. Any activist who can't understand the need for security is not someone we should allow to get too close.

Placing infiltrators into social justice movements isn't anything new. It was done to the Black Panthers and the peace movement in a big way. Unless you're only working with people you've known for years and who have earned your trust, you should assume there is an informant in your midst and act accordingly. This doesn't mean that no one else should ever be allowed into the "inner circle." On the contrary, if our movement is to continue to grow, we must always be recruiting new members; we just need to keep security uppermost in our minds and exercise caution at all times.

Possibly an even greater threat is the activist-turned-informer. The unwitting informer is the activist who can't keep his/her mouth shut. If someone brags to you about what s/he's done, make sure this person never has any knowledge that can incriminate you, because sooner or later, the wrong person will hear of it. These activists don't mean to do harm, but the results of their bragging can be deadly.

By the way, never criticize another activist for not doing enough. You don't know what that person may be doing quietly, and putting people on the defensive, where they feel compelled to justify themselves, creates a threat to security.

Lastly, there is the activist who cracks under pressure and starts talking to save his/her own skin. Many activists get drawn into situations they are not able to handle, and some are so caught up in the "excitement" that they either don't realize what the consequences can be or they just don't think they'll ever have to face them. We are in a war, and wars have casualties.

We have to know the possible consequences of every action we take and be prepared to deal with them. Someone who is easily influenced by his/her parents or dependent on them for support, is not a good candidate for actions, as they can be persuaded too easily to cooperate with the authorities. There is no shame in not being able to do an action because of responsibilities that make it impossible to do jail time. If others are depending on you for support or you aren't willing to lose your job or drop out of school, DON'T DO THE ACTION.

Make certain that others in your affinity group are not in situations which may cause them to cooperate with the police or abandon their friends. Don't be afraid to talk about this. Ask hard questions, and if you aren't convinced that someone will be able to stay strong if the worst happens, then designate that person to do support. Make sure that those who go into battle with you are willing and able to take whatever comes, even if it means giving up their freedom--or even their lives--for animal liberation.