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.
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.
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.
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.
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.