Third undercover police spy unmasked as scale of network emerges

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wojtek
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Jan 15 2011 00:51
Third undercover police spy unmasked as scale of network emerges

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/jan/14/third-undercover-police-spy-cardiff

Mike Harman
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Jan 15 2011 04:05
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]The latest officer, whose identity has been withheld amid fears for his safety in other criminal operations, worked for four years undercover with an anarchist group in Cardiff.
Samotnaf
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Jan 15 2011 05:23

Isn't all this partly down to the weakness of activism? People are considered purely in terms of their ability to contribute to an action, rather than in other, equally essential, abilities as well. It's easy for the cops to imitate an activist, because they don't have to say anything particularly original, they don't have to develop theoretical insights or make initiatives outside the box. Personally, regardless of whether the person was a cop or not, I wouldn't want much to do with someone who always came out with the same unoriginal hack ideologically correct lines or suggestions. People who want to oppose this world shouldn't tolerate such petrified perspectives amongst either themselves, their friends or their comrades. That way it'd be harder to be tolerant of cops (whether you knew they were cops or not), who, almost invariably, can only imitate opposition to this world, never advance anything new. And that way a healthy questioning within radical movements can replace the inevitable paranoia, mistrust and suspicion that look like becoming the main results of all these things coming out now.

gypsy
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Jan 15 2011 08:30
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In a twist that will further unnerve senior police officers, it emerged that Kennedy has asked the public relations agent Max Clifford to sell his story.

Look forward to watching the film.

Quote:
And that way a healthy questioning within radical movements can replace the inevitable paranoia, mistrust and suspicion that look like becoming the main results of all these things coming out now.

I think we have to take it as a given that there are spies amongst us.

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Chilli Sauce
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Jan 15 2011 10:13

Sam, while I take on your points, the 'movement' isn't actually that huge. When someone comes on who, politically, may not be confident enough to challenge radical convention, but is still down for doing the legwork of activism, I don't think we can blame the groups who bring them on board.

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Ramona
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Jan 15 2011 11:23

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1347320/Sleeping-enemy-How-undercover-cop-Mark-Stone-used-double-life-seduce-idealistic-young-women.html

Hilariously written article in the Mail

nastyned
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Jan 15 2011 13:47

They actually call people anarchists instead of 'self styled anarchists'.

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Mel B
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Jan 19 2011 17:51

That's a really interesting point. I've often wondered about how spies manage to be accepted in a group despite the fact that they are totally different types of people from protestors, with different values and views (if any); it does seem to show that going on a demo is the only thing that matters, not what kind of person you are.
I hope people don't start accusing all sorts of people of being police spies. The best thing to do if you're suspicious of someone is to find out about them - find out who they know and talk to those people, follow them maybe (though you could get caught and that would offend someone if they're not a spy), ask them questions about facts or their views (not sure what, any suggestions?).

posi
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Jan 19 2011 20:10
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It's easy for the cops to imitate an activist, because they don't have to say anything particularly original, they don't have to develop theoretical insights . . .

I can think of nothing more terrifying than prestige in political circles being based on theoretical originality. It's bad enough that people are setting up political groups based around Deleuzian ideas, without encouraging people to come up with ones of their own for no good reason. And jesus if the police start doing it as well (they will be able to find people) the political chaos will be unimaginable. . .

redsdisease
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Jan 19 2011 22:34
Mel B wrote:
That's a really interesting point. I've often wondered about how spies manage to be accepted in a group despite the fact that they are totally different types of people from protestors, with different values and views (if any)

In my experience, activists tend to get excited when someone who doesn't seem very "activisty" joins their groups. This can be especially true if the groups are sort of homogeneous, it makes them feel diverse. Idk, I've been there. I remember when I used to volunteer at an infoshop and would get excited every time somebody who didn't look hella punk walked in. It was pretty pathetic.

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Joseph Kay
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Jan 19 2011 23:25
posi wrote:
It's bad enough that people are setting up political groups based around Deleuzian ideas

what you got against the deterritorializing rhizomatic war machine, arborescent boy?

Saw this the other day:

Arborescent:

Rhizomatic:

[/Deleuzian derail]

Yorkie Bar
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Jan 20 2011 00:19

I'm 12 and what is this?

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Joseph Kay
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Jan 20 2011 00:33

Deleuze advocated 'rhizomatic' thought and organisation vs hierarchical 'arborescent' (treelike) versions. loose informal shifting networks vs formal federation etc (activists love this shit), and 'schizoanalysis' as a mode of thought pushing schizophrenia to its revolutionary potential (or something, activists ignore this bit).

the joke in the pictures is structurally speaking, the 'arbor' and the 'rhizome' are identical, only one's presented in such a way as it looks non-hierarchical.

Samotnaf
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Jan 20 2011 06:49

posi (quoting me):

Quote:
Quote:
It's easy for the cops to imitate an activist, because they don't have to say anything particularly original, they don't have to develop theoretical insights . . .

to which you responded

Quote:
I can think of nothing more terrifying than prestige in political circles being based on theoretical originality. It's bad enough that people are setting up political groups based around Deleuzian ideas, without encouraging people to come up with ones of their own for no good reason. And jesus if the police start doing it as well (they will be able to find people) the political chaos will be unimaginable.

Your quote of me is out of context - what i said was this:

Quote:
People are considered purely in terms of their ability to contribute to an action, rather than in other, equally essential, abilities as well. It's easy for the cops to imitate an activist, because they don't have to say anything particularly original, they don't have to develop theoretical insights or make initiatives outside the box.

(emphases added). There's too many of these stupid competitive political games on libcom, posi - you've distorted the point I was making. And where did i say peope should be coming out with original ideas "for no good reason"? Besides, all that Deleuzian crap isn't "original" in any meaningful sense - it's a pretense of originality, to hide all practical impotence, by an intellectual recuperator who thinks that merely by inventing abstract concepts can give him an idea of originality. It should have been clear that this is not what I meant at all - and personally, I would laugh at anyone coming out with silly philosophical "innovations" such as Deleuze and all those who simply invent new vocabulary to defend their intellectual roles.

I'd guess that it's the hangover of leftism that makes you think "originality" equals garbled pretentious crap rather than a genuine expression of an anti-ideological struggle.

Mel B:

Quote:
The best thing to do if you're suspicious of someone is to find out about them - find out who they know and talk to those people, follow them maybe (though you could get caught and that would offend someone if they're not a spy), ask them questions about facts or their views (not sure what, any suggestions?).

Following them is not a good idea - as you say, it would be deeply offensive. And it'd fuck up your communication with them definitively. Besides, an undercover cop might well be capable of sussing out if they're being followed or not - it could well be a part of their training. As for ideas about asking questions, the cops read these forums, and giving them some idea about what questions to be prepared for is not a good idea. Besides, each person and situation demands original questions and ways of sussing things out. I'd guess that generally trying to struggle against alienation should make you more sensitive to those who aren't , regardless of whether they're cops or not. And such sensitivity should help you stear clear of the phoneys and dogmatists - again, regardless of whether they're cops or not. There are a lot of people who just want to be part of a movement because it's the trend, or because it looks correct. But they're not genuinely trying to contribute to their own self-liberation.

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Awesome Dude
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Jan 20 2011 10:09

The one thing that's got to me is how many activist politicos felt shocked that they were infiltrated by the states security apparatus. The British state has been at civil war in Northern Ireland for years and has depolyed and made expert use of a sophisticated informer/infiltrator network. They are happy to train and sent teenagers to murder (and die) in far off conflicts, they wont lose any sleep sending spies to shag us.

I hope we won't all get too paranoid because we need new people to keep movements from stagnating into self serving cliques...which in reality is what we have at the moment.

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Awesome Dude
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Jan 20 2011 10:08

Thinking about a little more, it's the stability of self serving cliques that make it easier to infiltrate the mileu i.e. tag along and stay in the good books of the most popular cliques. Then ingratiate yourself with those who exert the greatest social infulence inside them (domenering types?). Keep going until your in a postion to be trusted with sensitive information or direct the group in your direction.

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Entdinglichung
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Jan 20 2011 10:09

still good on the topic What everyone should know about repression by Victor Serge (1926)

Mark.
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Jan 20 2011 10:10

http://uk.news.yahoo.com/21/20110120/tuk-met-chief-undercover-denial-queried-6323e80.html

Quote:
A senior Metropolitan Police commander will be asked to account for the false information he gave MPs when he denied that plain-clothes officers were among the 2009 G20 demonstrations in London.

The Metropolitan Police was forced to admit that false information had been given, issuing a statement correcting the testimony given by Mr Broadhurst on May 19 2009.

Mr Broadhurst told MPs then: "We had no plain-clothes officers deployed within the crowd. It would have been dangerous for them to put plain-clothes officers in a crowd like that.

"The only officers we deploy for intelligence purposes at public order are forward intelligence team officers who are wearing full police uniforms with a yellow jacket with blue shoulders. There were no plain clothes officers deployed at all."

But the statement conceded: "Having made thorough checks on the back of recent media reporting we have now established that covert officers were deployed during the G20 protests. Therefore the information that was given by Commander Bob Broadhurst to the Home Affairs Select Committee saying that 'We had no plain-clothes officers deployed within the crowd' was not accurate...

"The officers were covertly deployed by the MPS (Metropolitan Police Service) to G20 protests to identify individuals who may be involved in the organisation of criminal activity and to give live time intelligence/evidence as to the protesters' activity."...

Samotnaf
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Jan 20 2011 10:29

blackrainbow:

Quote:
it's the stability of self serving cliques that make it easier to infiltrate the mileu i.e. tag along and stay in the good books of the most popular cliques. Then ingratiate yourself with those who exert the greatest social infulence inside them (domenering types?). Keep going until your in a postion to be trusted with sensitive information or direct the group in your direction.

Though my knowlege of self-serving cliques is mostly limited to conflicts with them, this sounds spot on. Good insight.

Mike Harman
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Jan 20 2011 14:07

From http://www.fitwatch.org.uk/

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The following statementhas been released by Cardiff Anarchist Network (CAN) on the infiltration by Mark ‘Marco’ Jacobs.

For four years the Cardiff Anarchist Network was infiltrated by an undercover police officer we knew as ‘Marco’. During that time we believe he had a number of key objectives – to gather intelligence and disrupt the activities of CAN; to use the reputation and trust CAN had built up to infiltrate other groups, including a European network of activists; and to stop CAN functioning as a coherent group.

By 2009 suspicions had built up, but Marco had so effectively messed up relationships and trust within the group, that we were not properly sharing or voicing our suspicions. In the autumn of 2009 he hosted a ‘goodbye’ dinner for the group, and announced he was leaving for a job in Corfu. After he left, texts and postcards arrived for some weeks, but then suddenly dried up, without explanation. His British mobile number was not recognised on dialling it and the Greek mobile number he had been using after he left barred incoming calls and texts went undelivered. His social network pages became untouched. Suspicions crystallised, but by now he had completely disappeared.

People who had been associated with CAN and the other groups he had become a part of in Cardiff, such as No Borders and Gwent Anarchists, tried to make it known within activist circles that the man we knew as Marco was an undercover cop. But without definite proof we were urged not to make unfounded allegations.

It was only when news broke on Mark Kennedy and Lynn Watson that there seemed an opportunity to establish the truth for certain. Following our leads, on the 14th January 2011 the Guardian obtained confirmation that he was indeed a serving police officer. We don’t know exactly how this was done, but believe that confirmation came directly from ACPO, the Association of Chief Police Officers. We were not comfortable relying on the mainstream media in this way, but all our previous attempts to properly establish who he was had come to nothing.

Marco worked on us (not with us) for four years. He developed strong personal relationships and some of us feel an enormous personal betrayal. But he also deliberately and systematically set out to damage a movement, and we think it is important that knowledge of what he did, and how he did it, is shared and discussed as widely as possible.

Possibly one of the most damaging things he did was use his CAN ‘credentials’ to infiltrate the anti-G8 Dissent network in Europe. CAN had been actively involved in Dissent and in the planning of mass blockades at the G8 in Stirling in 2005, and some members of CAN were keen to contribute to a wider European network. But CAN was a small group, and very few amongst us had the time and money to travel to international meetings. Marco of course, had plenty of all of these, so it was easy for him to step up and get involved. In at least one case he attended European planning meetings alongside Mark Kennedy. It is likely that their activities seriously damaged the organisation of protest at the G8 in Germany in 2007.

Notably none of the three undercover cops so far uncovered went to the G8 in Russia. Marco was due to attend, but pulled out at the last minute – presumably unable to get agreement from the Russian government, or authorisation to act without their knowledge.

Like Mark Kennedy, Marco also sabotaged environmentalist direct action. In 2007, having managed to get himself included in the planning process for an action against the LNG pipeline terminal at Milford Haven in west Wales, he was able to pass information to the local police that resulted in the arrests of a number of activists. All criminal prosecutions ultimately collapsed, but not before the police had raided houses, including Marco’s own flat, and obtained computer equipment in what seems to have been a massive fishing expedition.

Much of Marco’s time though was spent getting involved in all the normal activities of a political group - meetings, film showings, gatherings and events designed to provoke discussion and debate about radical politics. We believe that in at least one case – the showing of an animal rights film with an accompanying talk – he put on an event purely to gather intelligence on the people who would attend. He was also keen on being involved in projects where there was co-operation with other groups, such as the campaign against the privatisation of military training and the building of a new defence academy at RAF St Athan. Looking back now we can see he was carefully but consistently disruptive. Despite his obvious competence, whenever anything – building contacts, outreach, transport – depended entirely on him, it would come to nothing.

Damaging the structure of CAN was undoubtedly a key objective. He changed the culture of the organisation, encouraging a lot of drinking, gossip and back-stabbing, and trivialised and ran down any attempt made by anyone in the group to achieve objectives. He clearly aimed to separate and isolate certain people from the group and from each other, and subtly exaggerated political and personal differences, telling lies to both ‘sides’ to create distrust and ill-feeling. In the four years he was in Cardiff a strong, cohesive and active group had all but disintegrated. Marco left after anarchist meetings in the city stopped being held.

Reading this, you’d be forgiven for wondering why the hell it took us so long to suss him out, and why we weren’t more sceptical and less trusting. Marco had no obviously apparent life outside activism. We never met his family or his supposed mates who shared his passion for rock music, although he would at times claim to be away at gigs out of town. He told us he had no wife and/or kids. His house was fairly spartan and his job as a truck driver also allowed him an excuse to be away for prolonged periods without arousing suspicion. Also, despite a stated desire to be ‘where the action was’ he was very reluctant to get his hands dirty by being an active part of direct action or confrontation with the police. These things all together should have been enough to at least get us asking questions.

We may well have been a bit naive, particularly in assuming that we weren’t important enough to be infiltrated. And the man we knew as Marco was very good at deflecting suspicions. He was likeable, personally supportive, funny and very useful to have around. He was, like Mark Kennedy, a driver. He took minutes, wrote, edited and distributed newsletters, made banners, and went to the boring meetings no one else could be bothered with. He was able to exploit people’s vulnerabilities to either get close to them, or make them feel isolated and excluded. He was a very good manipulator.

All of us who were involved with Mark Jacobs are reeling with anger, resentment and guilt. Our failure to see through his charade caused great harm to people both here in Cardiff and across Europe. We are aware that Marco was not the only cop operating, and that the fault, particularly on a European scale, is not all ours. But still, we feel a collective responsibility and sense of failure over our part in this.

Having said all that, we need to look forward, and it is important to learn the right lessons from what has happened. We feel strongly that it is important that the movement does not succumb to paranoia and suspicion. Marco worked hard to sow distrust, dislike and suspicion amongst us, and it was allowing him to do that was perhaps our biggest mistake.

We also feel that it is mistake to paint ourselves as powerless in a situation like this, or to seek sympathy in the media as the victims of an unfair and all-powerful state. We can see how this might be tempting for propaganda reasons, or to win the support of mainstream politicians or the liberal press, but it is ultimately a disempowering act. The actions of the police and the UK state in this affair are disgusting, but not surprising. We, as a group and as a movement, were infiltrated and abused because we took, and encouraged others to take, militant action against a string of colossal injustices. Simply put, we took a determined stand against what we saw as wrong, and every time we were proven right. On the abhorrent war in Iraq; the corrupt and immoral arms trade; the injustices meted out in our names by the G8; and the scandals of man-made climate change, we stand by the rightness of our actions. We reject the authority of the state to tell us how, when and where to make our resistance, and we encourage further struggle and dissent. They come at us because we are strong, not because we are weak.

gypsy
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Jan 20 2011 17:22
Samotnaf wrote:
blackrainbow:
Quote:
it's the stability of self serving cliques that make it easier to infiltrate the mileu i.e. tag along and stay in the good books of the most popular cliques. Then ingratiate yourself with those who exert the greatest social infulence inside them (domenering types?). Keep going until your in a postion to be trusted with sensitive information or direct the group in your direction.

Though my knowlege of self-serving cliques is mostly limited to conflicts with them, this sounds spot on. Good insight.

Who you had conflict with Sam?

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Jan 20 2011 17:29
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the joke in the pictures is structurally speaking, the 'arbor' and the 'rhizome' are identical, only one's presented in such a way as it looks non-hierarchical.

Jesus fuck.

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Joseph Kay
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Jan 20 2011 18:07
Chilli Sauce wrote:
Quote:
the joke in the pictures is structurally speaking, the 'arbor' and the 'rhizome' are identical, only one's presented in such a way as it looks non-hierarchical.

Jesus fuck.

i somehow have to convince myself reading 1,000 pages of Capitalism and Schizophrenia wasn't a horrific waste of life. It was cry

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Jan 20 2011 20:42

In case anyone missed it, there was a fourth copper involved in surveillance (apparently 18 or so was touted over the past 10 years but only four presently active) and the relationship he developed with an activist (including marriage and kids) appears to have continued even after he confessed he was a copper, which is fucking nuts. Here

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Steven.
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Jan 20 2011 23:26

Thing is, with Mark Stone, did he actually do any damage? Seems kind of like he just helps loads of actions happen by driving people around and providing money, and completely fucked up a big prosecution…

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888
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Jan 20 2011 23:58
Joseph Kay wrote:
the joke in the pictures is structurally speaking, the 'arbor' and the 'rhizome' are identical, only one's presented in such a way as it looks non-hierarchical.

I was about to point that out! Hilarious... it's like when people draw pictures of circles instead of pyramids... But otherwise the structure is identical.

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Jan 21 2011 00:16
Steven. wrote:
Thing is, with Mark Stone, did he actually do any damage? Seems kind of like he just helps loads of actions happen by driving people around and providing money, and completely fucked up a big prosecution…

There are people saying he was heavily involved in a Gleneagles action that went tits up along with all the climate camp arrests which have come back to him recently.

Mike Harman
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Jan 21 2011 04:05
Steven. wrote:
Thing is, with Mark Stone, did he actually do any damage? Seems kind of like he just helps loads of actions happen by driving people around and providing money, and completely fucked up a big prosecution…

Didn't the prosecution happen in the first place because of him? And several others that are now being looked into? According to some of the articles it looks like he:
- successfully diverted some anti-fascist protest from a town centre to a bus car park on the outskirts.
- along Cardiff Anarchist Network infiltrator Marco fucked up some protest in Germany and was able to pass information to the police about activist groups on the continent.
- pushed various protests towards actions that would lead to lots of arrests, likely the driving and funding contributed to his ability to do this.

According to that blog post about the grassy knoll article, a lot of stuff about this posted on indymedia is being hidden and/or erased. I think it's understandable that those who were close to Stone or the others would be feeling very embarrassed about what happened, and would be particularly reticent to post publicly about actual disruption he caused to activism - so all we have really seen is stuff about him 'betraying' people and fucking around, and a few tidbits like the ones listed above.

The pattern outlined by CAN looks like a lot of small pushes and nudges in certain directions which managed to disrupt things over time, wear people down, and eventually led to the dissolution of the group. It'd be surprising if officers elsewhere weren't doing similar things.

Samotnaf
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Jan 21 2011 06:38

Mike Harman:

Quote:
According to that blog post about the grassy knoll article, a lot of stuff about this posted on indymedia is being hidden and/or erased.

Just putting a link to your grassy knoll forum as it seems it should really be part of this forum as well.

gypsytimetraveller:

Quote:
Quote:
my knowlege of self-serving cliques is mostly limited to conflicts with them

Quote:
Who you had conflict with Sam?

Last significant conflict was about 10 months ago, but it's a long story. Might say something abut it sometime as it has more general aspects to it than just my own limited experience, but not now or here.

Samotnaf
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Jan 21 2011 06:45

Direct link to the critique of indymedia and the grassy knoll story.

gypsy
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Jan 21 2011 07:46
Samotnaf wrote:
Mike Harman:
Quote:
According to that blog post about the grassy knoll article, a lot of stuff about this posted on indymedia is being hidden and/or erased.

Just putting a link to your grassy knoll forum as it seems it should really be part of this forum as well.

gypsytimetraveller:

Quote:
Quote:
my knowlege of self-serving cliques is mostly limited to conflicts with them

Quote:
Who you had conflict with Sam?

Last significant conflict was about 10 months ago, but it's a long story. Might say something abut it sometime as it has more general aspects to it than just my own limited experience, but not now or here.

pm me if you like.