Positions Behind the Camera and Key Positions In Front Of It

Anonyme, Sábado, Diciembre 31, 2011 - 23:43

Sudhama Ranganathan

When I was in college between 2003 and 2006 here in my coutry, America, I was harassed by fellow students and professors while attending a degree program I was majoring in. The harassment was predicated upon my race and a student protest I was involved in at another school roughly thirteen years prior. I was subtly harassed through a constant litany of insinuation, being subtly ostracized within the program and being purposefully not given all the information necessary to complete assignments fully etc. Other times it was much more blatant.

There are many people that have experienced harassment be it at school like myself, at work, a place of worship or in other places or areas of life. The act of harassment itself is not unique, though the circumstances within which it occurs are almost always to some degree or the next. Each person is unique and yet the same and so are the circumstances surrounding harassment.

But there was something that did make mine immediately unique, though never solely of course. One of the people within the degree program I was in admitted to me he was an undercover officer, though he didn't specify which agency he was an employee of. That set things apart in terms of the situation I was in, but put what was happening into some perspective - at least for myself. It clicked - not totally, but it certainly made things much more clear than had been the case previous to the revelation. I had the idea it might have been the case, but I had just vague notions as to who might be and who might not. Also, I had enough to concentrate on with my workload and trying to survive the harassment without adding a ton of as yet baseless paranoia on top of it all.

The afore mentioned person's admission that he was undercover law enforcement working at the university I was attending and specifically keeping an eye on me made some sense given how close to 9/11's occurrence it was.

I wasn't a terrorist nor had I ever been. Anyone that had been keeping as close an eye on me as they had been at the school, which seemed inordinately close, would have known I had not been politically active in the thirteen years prior to my entry into school in 2002. Heck, given their obvious awareness of my past and the sweeping powers granted law enforcement after 9/11 they simply could have told me they could not allow me on campus.

Instead, they let me on a campus which at any given time could have roughly 40,000 people on it. They put in place the one officer in my program plus at least three others he identified and others that became immediately obvious and as I looked back on it. They were older, always stood out and always made an effort to keep their heads down at the same time. They had all either been on that campus for a number of years or had come in from other campuses. I could go on.

What made the whole thing stranger was that they actually coordinated, oversaw and participated in the harassment themselves. It just seemed odd that someone being watched for being potentially dangerous and unstable would be purposely prodded, pushed and driven to what would be a breaking point in anyone that truly was either psychologically or emotionally brittle. Thank God for the campus and everybody involved I was not unstable, a threat or a terrorist.

But, simply keeping a close eye on me would have seemed like a smarter route, after all wouldn't all that extra attention and "terrorist" name calling tip a real terrorist off that they were being watched? And if they had legitimate concerns, not allowing me to attend until they were sure I was safe would have been a much more well thought out route to go as isn't the whole idea about public safety and keeping Americans free from harm? (BTW I too am an American.) For all their savvy they did not plan well beyond a week to a month in advance. The strategies were always relatively short term, a bit dull and almost desperate in tenor.

Today as I watch the Occupy Protesters and visit their camps via online streams as they protest or hold general assembly meetings, etc, I'm struck by how easy it would be to infiltrate the camps. The kinds of undercover officers that were at the college I was at would be just the sort. They were accustomed to standing out when they felt they needed to so that they could get attention so as to put themselves in a position where they could control what was happening. They also knew how and when to hang back and keep a low profile.

They were expert at subtly guiding the goings on in certain general directions through first gaining the respect of the people around them then just dropping suggestions as to what to do next. Their behavior was often rebellious as they apparently knew part of getting the respect of college students was to be a little rebellious - even dangerous. It would be like the rapper and outed law enforcement personnel Rick Ross trying to claim he was like Malcolm X to gain credibility, when anyone that stopped and thought about it for a second would know if there was one thing Malcolm X was never - it was a cop. Besides, the particular major didn't really attract folks that would be radical politically per se, but they were still college students and liked a little excitement and fun.

They played that well. They always seemed to make sure they were in key positions. They worked at being considered somewhat "cool." They would put themselves in both leadership and behind the scenes roles within the context of the group. There would be one or two in leadership positions say in like a student organization and then one or two as regular members. This way they could affect the way things went when they wished from both sides. At times if it came to it, they would always stick up for one another - even if it meant "breaking character" (something to watch out for).

It was definitely interesting to see how it unfolded and how obvious this became, once the revelation had been made to me. The only thing keeping me from believing it was so previously was the fact it seemed a little paranoid to think that way and plus I had no confirmation. So such things were dismissed. But in these situations it is important to be aware, though not nervously paranoid nor totally mistrustful or dissuaded from pushing for real political reforms - that is needed and OWS is doing us all a real service through their sacrifice.

Just stay aware of what is happening around you. There have been infiltrations that have come to light already. ( But it is not the observers that are the real worry, it is those working to disrupt, cause disharmony within the groups and cause havoc. Those looking to destroy morale from the inside out and subtly get people to slowly leave. Those are the people to watch out for. The status quo is a beast that is hauntingly jealous of its space.

Just be aware of people looking to put themselves in key positions. Most are probably good people, but there will be those that are undercover in one capacity or another trying to get in front. You may also see these people use some of the tactics I described above to try and get rid pof people they feel could influence people more strongly than themselves. If you see folks suddenly descend on someone out of nowhere repeatedly or consistently subtly trying to extricate someone you may wish to be aware of that and those people. If you see someone jump all over someone just arriving saying they know things about them and it seems strange trust your gut.

There may also be political operatives looking to slowly wrangle people to vote a certain way. Especially people from parties you would think would be really trying to court the Occupy vote. Just as in a leaderless and non-affiliated movement leaders and people trying to become leaders should be questioned, so should people that talk at length about certain politicians and political parties.

Think of the Tea Party, politics aside, and how they were hugged by the establishment into submission then moved off balance, shifted from their center and tossed to the floor before they knew what was happening. People seeking to do the same to any such movements may even start out by talking about the politicians or parties they want to convince you are those you should abandon, but talk long enough to use a pleasing tone that associates the name with a pleasant feeling, sensation or emotion. Something secure and that you can trust for example. Maybe they keep saying the name as if it were an action as opposed to a noun. They wish to convince you, "hey they're not such bad guys man. See I like them and you like me right?"

The Occupy movement is a good thing for America and for the world. That is why I write this. Just to pass on some experience to help the movement grow, thrive and be able to mature. The two party system has failed and movements like Occupy are exactly what is needed to put checks on the system going forward.

To read about my inspiration for this article go to

my web site

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