The secret police of the United States is the Federal Bureau of Investigation, especially in its function as a security service; the FBI, ATF, DEA, and the rest of the assorted alphabet soup boys have been known to use a combination of undercover operatives, agent provocateurs, and even civilian informants in various attempts to “bust” dissident groups. The idea here is to scare and confuse political dissidents from ever actually organizing to resist tyranny in any real effective way. Such behavior from these unconstitutional cops are worthy of the German Stasi or Russian commissars, not those who claim the moral right to uphold the Law.
Anyone who attempts to live according to their own principles outside of The Left-Right Paradigm is a likely target for secret police infiltration, subversion, and kidnapping (typically referred to as “arrest” and “incarceration”). While those who are provocateurs and even full-blown operatives are a danger (of either the Type I or Type II variety), at least they can usually be weeded out of your life by the careful application of vetting and ostracism. The real trick is to identify and then handle those who “turn informant,” as it were.
So, you have your state’s evidence informants (also known as stool pigeons), jailhouse snitches, accidental snitches (also known as “easily swayed informants,” “useful idiots,” and “guess what I know” types), vengeance snitches, and volunteer informants (two subtypes of which are proactive sell-outs and James Bond wannabes). All of them can get you captured, or even killed. What makes them literally so dangerous is that anyone has the potential to “turn informant” (analogously, this would be somewhat akin to how the Agents of The Matrix take over someone’s digital projection of themselves), besides the fact that the secret police (and their numerous subsidiaries) are using them more often.
An indispensable practice for thwarting snitches (and subsequently, their handlers) is to keep your own counsel. Although a common habit of provocateurs is to, well, provoke you into doing something unnecessarily risky (that more likely than not, will land you in prison easily), this should not be confused with someone genuine who wants to take the initiative in violating mala prohibita through direct action. On the other hand, you should never forget that snitches, like cops, lie through their ass constantly.
In terms of handling snitches, there are various effective methods at your disposal. You could open up a “Facts, Acts, and Circumstantial” file on them (think of it as the basis for a dossier). As Wolfe describes it:
“After each incident, write details down. Facts are the time, date, occasion, incident, [and] characteristics of the person(s). Acts are what they did. Circumstantial [are] the impressions [you get] and anything odd about the situation. Use the FAC file and keep notes from unsettling situations and see if a pattern emerges.”
A FAC file should be centered within a notebook with numbered pages and a margin on the left; don’t forget to also record the weather conditions and sign each entry (supposedly, this makes it a legal document, which might be useful in court should you need to discredit a snitch). Since vetting and ostracism are still your best tools for dealing with provocateurs and operatives, they will also work against informants. Historically, collaborators would be publicly humiliated (such as the women who slept with the German National Socialists by having their hair hacked off while the mobs screamed that they were “Nazi whores”), informants would have their kneecaps shot off (as was the case with the old IRA during the Irish War of Independence), and traitors would be brutally executed (like the African National Congress’s method of “necklacing”) and/or their bodies would be left in highly visible public areas with messages either left on, or carved into, them. Needless to say, there are all sorts of very creative ways to discourage snitching.
Speaking of dealing with snitches, I would like to use the very strange case of when Bob Black (author of The Abolition of Work) met Jim Hogshire (author of You Are Going to Prison). Essentially, what was supposed to be an interview with Hogshire degenerated into a hostage situation with Black using Hogshire’s wife as a human shield, and Hogshire responding in kind by leveling his M-1 at him (Black himself admitted to as much). Although some would argue that Black’s snitching on Hogshire to the Narcotics Division of the Seattle Police Department was the lesser of two evils, I still don’t see why that should exonerate Black in my eyes. For someone who claimed to be an anarchist, Black was awfully quick to call on the agents of the State the moment he experienced an interpersonal, albeit violent, dispute (as evidenced his February 21st, 1996 letter to the Seattle PD). Since Black was insincere about his adherence to anarchism, might he also be insincere about his desire for the abolition of work?
What is scarier than identifying and dealing with snitches is being pressured and coerced into becoming one yourself. Again, the best tool you have here is to keep your own counsel and SHUT THE FUCK UP! Silence is the ideal tool here, although it won’t work all the time, so the next best thing is to ASK CLARIFYING QUESTIONS! Putting the interrogator on the defense by pushing him to answer your questions, instead of the other way around, puts you in the proverbial catbert’s seat (remember, the master asks the questions, and the servant answers them). Besides that, you can also categorically DENY EVERYTHING! This is best done, not by a specific statement (“I swear, officer, I didn’t run over that stray cat!”), but rather a vague one (the CIA’s favorite answer to any difficult question is commonly reported to be “I don’t know”).
Ultimately, you will either decide to snitch or not. If you do snitch, then it depends on whether you are found out or not; if so, then you owe your victims restitution (assuming you aren’t killed first; regardless, your handlers owe you no loyalty, as evidenced by the death of Jeremy McLean and countless other discardable informants); if not, then you should do the next best thing and whistleblow on your handlers (this might even help keep you alive). If you refuse to snitch, then it becomes all that more important to whistleblow on the prosecutor and whomever else is coercing you into accepting a plea agreement with “adjudication withheld” in their attempt to turn you into a disposable informant.
Claire Wolfe’s Rats! Your Guide to Protecting Yourself Against Snitches, Informers, Informants, Agents Provocateurs, Narcs, Finks, and Similar Vermin is a wonderfully simple and effective manual for teaching dissidents the value of rooting out miscreants who are inimical to their Liberty. I think this book, when combined with Vortex, You Are Going to Prison, and Security Culture for Activists, compose a formidable toolbox of INFOSEC protection against the secret police as well as the not-so-secret police. Instead of writing letters to the editor, petitioning the governor, or donating to legal defense fund scams, I would encourage you to act proactively by taking your personal privacy seriously and form a cocoon of protection around yourself; with any luck, you’ll avoid the wrath of the State and thus ultimately the horrors of prison as well.