Provacateur or mere infiltrator?

Not the big guy in the black shirt - the little guy behind him

Patrick Howley at American Spectator:

Standoff in D.C.

Anti-capitalist protests engulf the nation’s capital — and one American Spectator reporter gets pepper-sprayed.

WASHINGTON — The fastest-running protesters charged up the steps of Washington’s National Air and Space Museum Saturday afternoon to infiltrate the building and hang banners on the “shameful” exhibits promoting American imperialism. As the white-uniformed security guards hurried to physically block the entrances, only a select few — myself, for journalistic purposes, included — kept charging forward.

Roughly one hundred protesters marched on the Air and Space Museum Saturday, following a planned assembly held the night before in Freedom Plaza. At that assembly, the “Action Committee” for the protest movement organized by suggested storming the museum in order to state their opposition to American militarism, which they perceive as a root cause of the federal deficit. The marchers started out in the early afternoon, and after a roughly half-hour parade through the streets of D.C. they reached their target. As the museum doors approached, all of a sudden liberal shoes started marching less forcefully, and the crowd split into two factions — those rushing the doors, and those staying behind.

After sneaking past the guard at the first entrance, I found myself trapped in a small entranceway outside the second interior door behind a muscle-bound left-wing fanatic and a heavyset guard. The fanatic shoved the guard and the guard shoved back, hard, sending this comrade — and, by domino effect, me — sprawling against the wall. After squeezing myself out from under him, I sprinted toward the door. Then I got hit.

Was Howley an agent provocateur or a mere infiltrator?


American Spectator Editor Admits to Being Agent Provocateur at D.C. Museum


It is highly likely that the events that occurred would not have taken the turn they did if it were not for Howley’s admitted adventure in an effort to discredit the Occupy movement. So before the public, the media, and officials turn their attention negatively towards the protests and the protesters there needs to be a critical eye turned on the role of the American Spectator and the role played in these events by its editorial staff. If arrests were made at this incident, and even if none were, the admissions of Howley published brazenly in the pages of his Conservative magazine and bragged about on his Facebook page should lead to an official investigation into his role and that of his employer in the events in Washington D.C. today and should be seen as at least part of the causal nexus that led to the inappropriate use of force that along with Howley negatively affected many who were innocent of any crime other than being at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Was Howley the person who suggested going to the museum? Did he play any role in planning the event?

If the protesters did nothing wrong (as they claimed yesterday) then how can Howley be at fault?

What do you think?

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83 Responses to Provacateur or mere infiltrator?

  1. crawdad says:

    I think some people like their bread buttered on both sides

    • DeniseVB says:

      I think the “journalist” was there for the ladies 🙂 Not sure why he became part of the charge, should have stopped well before that. He’s no Andrew Breitbart 😉

  2. DeniseVB says:

    The museum represents American Imperialism ? I thought it was aviation and space exploration history. Why didn’t they storm Andrews Air Force Base, Quantico or the Capitol Building ? Weenies.

    • DandyTiger says:

      Reminds me of anti-nuk protests at power facilities which use 2% of our nuclear fuel vs. military installations that use 98%.. Or like protesting our conditions and policies by protesting at wall street instead of at DC. And oh, never wanting to discuss said policies.

      And by the way, we finally get some DC occupation, and instead of storming the WH, they storm a museum. Really?

      And also by the way, air and space museum is getting close to what I do. Now they’re pissing me off. How long before book burning I wonder.

    • angienc says:

      Not just that, when did this whole OWS protest thingy decide that American imperialism was the target? I thought it was the bankers and you the financial institutions (you know, “Wall Street”) they were pissed at.

      These people don’t seem to know shit about fuck, IMO.

      • DeniseVB says:

        Whoa, those who get sh*t about F*ck, indeed 😀

      • 1539days says:

        Then it’s not 99% anymore either. I don’t think the US is imperialist. They make some bad military decisions, but they’re not occupying Iraq and making the people build a death ray.

        And why 99%? The top 90% of people do pretty well for themselves. The people who are REALLY in charge are not 1%. It’s more like 0.01%. Plenty of 1 percenters are claiming solidarity. Hell, Nancy Pelosi and her husband are in the overlord class and she talks about how awesoem and not astroturf OWS is.

  3. WMCB says:

    OT sorta, but LMAO!!!

  4. votermom says:

    Tangent: I think protesting inside a museum crosses a line for me.
    If they want to prove they are barbarians, they have certainly made a good start.

    • DeniseVB says:

      The DC museums are full of national treasures and innocent tourists, I’ve never heard of them being targeted before? It was just stupid. Earlier reports said they were protesting the Drone attacks … so why weren’t they at the Pentagon? Or White House where Zippy plays National Defense like the game of Risk.

      I won’t buy the anti-war/peace message until they include Obama on their signs.

  5. Dario says:

    Any demonstration is always at risk of being hijacked by people who work against the goals of the demonstration. Good demonstrations, like those during the Civil Rights movement, were successful because the leadership had clear stated goals with visible leaders who made sure provocateurs could not derail the protests. OWS doesn’t, and it may fail. I’m concerned of a worse scenario. One that could injure people who like sheep are being led over the cliff. Once people are hurt, anything can happen.

    • DeniseVB says:

      The October people are planning to stay through the week and my fear is that the Air and Space got them PUBLICITY, what could be next?

      With any luck, maybe Michelle’s Jumping Jack event at the WH on Tues. True story.

  6. WMCB says:

    I think he joined in, in a deceptive way. But no, there is nothing in the description of what happened that shows that he caused or instigated anything. He didn’t plan it, he didn’t come up with the chants, he didn’t say, “Hey let’s go storm this place!”

    • Dario says:

      Sometimes protests take on their own direction. That’s to be expected when the masses gather. All it takes is one person breaking a boundary and everyone follows.

  7. yttik says:

    It’s illegal to bring protests and political messages into a museum, at least it is here. You cannot enter carrying signs or distributing material. So what Howley did or didn’t do is kind of irrelevant. Security guards were blocking the entrances. You can’t rush security guards and try to over power them without risking arrest. These are adults, right? “Little Patrick Howley made me do it” is not an excuse.

    Besides, those protesters clearly stormed that museum with the intent of causing a conflict to bring attention to US imperialism and militarism. They said so themselves! They weren’t “lost.” They didn’t accidentally fall through the doors. Misguided, yes. But set up? No.

    • angienc says:

      Ah, but these coddled people are all part of the self-esteem generation — the ones who’s parents got mad at the teacher when she put one of them in time out because, you know, the kid was just EXPRESSING himself & the teacher is OBVIOUSLY just out to “get” their kid (Seriously, I’ve seen this scenario more times than I can count in the past 17 years). So, the “he made me do it” line has ALWAYS been an acceptable excuse for them, and, considering that none of them can actually think for themselves (they should be called the lemming generation) that isn’t totally untrue.

      • Three Wickets says:

        considering that none of them can actually think for themselves

        Yup. Think a lot of them let their only slightly more mature college profs and TAs do their thinking for them. They so often seem clueless about the real world.

  8. Dario says:

    Anti-capitalist protests engulf the nation’s capital

    I doubt most people protesting at Wall Street are “anti-capitalists”, but that’s how they are being painted by the right wing. Sometimes, unwittingly, labels end up being true because the original demonstrations are frustrated and take stronger methods.

    • DandyTiger says:

      If you make yourself a blank slate, someone will fill in the gap.

    • 1539days says:

      There was a clip on O’Reilly where a producer asked people at the park about the OWS protests. One talked about how bad capitalism was and the producer asked what he would replace it with. The guy didn’t have an answer, because people behind him were warning “don’t say it.” They know what to say and when to say it.

    • WMCB says:

      Well, Breitbart went to the LA protest and started asking “Capitalism, thumbs up or thumbs down?” Most of the crowd was thumbs down, until some organizers recognized him, and started telling the people to not respond, as it would be on tape. Well, if that’s what you beleive, why don’t you want it on tape?

      Let me tell you why that bothers me. I see a LOT of anti-capitalism at these protests, on the message boards, on groups affiliated with this, etc. A LOT. It’s not just a tiny few signs. You know what I also see? I see a lot of either people denying it’s there, or I see what happened at the LA protest with Breitbart: When no one is looking, we’ll be as anti-capitalist as we wanna be, but we’ll pretend we aren’t if someone skeptical of us is watching, because we are well aware that it’s not popular. That’s deceptive in my book.

      Say what you want about the teaparties, they did not hide who they were, or what they believed in. They put it out there honestly, and the public could agree or disagree. Do they have an agenda? Yep. And I have a fairly good grasp of what it is, because they communicated it honestly. Not perfectly, not in absolute uniformity, but honestly.

      I have a BIG problem with groups that say one thing to the public, and another thing among themselves. Big problem.

      And if the message and the drive of the liberals and Democrats and progressives in this country is becoming “anti-capitalism”, then I’d like to know. Because I am not down with that, in any way shape or form. And if they don’t want to be associated with that, then they need to repudiate it. Forcefully.

    • Dario says:

      So if congress doesn’t fund the government, does Gingrich believe that at that point a president would ignore congress and go ahead continue operations. We’d have a dictator.

    • Dario says:

      That link is bad. Here is a good link with Gingrich spewing idiocy.

      • DandyTiger says:

        Gingrich spewing idiocy

        In other words, Gingrich opened his mouth.

      • yttik says:

        “I think the commander in chief has the power to defend this country … the recent court decisions in which the court intervened in national security, they’re taking on their shoulders defending America. They are totally unprepared to do it. It is unconstitutional. Somebody should stand up to them and say no.”

        Ironically Newt, somebody did. President Obama just executed 2 US citizens. You should be quite pleased. The courts have been reluctant to get involved in nat’l security matters which has enabled us to detain people without charges, engage in torture, and even execute people.

        Personally I’d like to see a president that actually respects the office and doesn’t abuse his power. Obviously Newt is not that person, but then again, neither was George Bush or President Obama.

      • WMCB says:

        Newt needs to be kept far, far, far away from power. Fortunately, the R primary voters don’t seem to trust him either, so I doubt he has a shot in hell.

  9. swanspirit says:

    Odd that protesters in Wash DC stormed the Air& Space Museum and not the Pentagon to protest (an exhibit on) Military Drones.
    Neil DeGrasse Tyson

    • DandyTiger says:

      Very. I assume they thought it was an easy soft target that would get them press. Hopefully they only wanted to put up banners and sit a spell. But some may have wanted to destroy exhibits as well.

      It’s surprisingly easy for a mob to turn ugly. Which makes me wonder, who instigated or directed that move? And of course we continue to have the same unanswered questions, who’s paying, who’s organizing, what are their plans, and what are their goals. Doesn’t seem very open and 60’s like at all does it.

      • Mary says:

        As I understand, there were only about 100 people storming the museum.

        Maybe they got bored with singing Kumbaya at the meetings. 🙂

        • DeniseVB says:

          100 is a lot if you only have a dozen or so museum security in place. I don’t think they’re trained enough for mob control at a museum? Again, this “journalist” is an idiot, he should have dialed the Newseum for back up 😉

    • myiq2xu says:

      Pentagon guards carry guns

  10. 1539days says:

    Apparently, left blogistan is all animated about an appearance by “working class” DailyKos (paid?) blogger Jesse LaGreca on ABC’s This Week. I saw this and I found nothing especially exciting. I guess the guy supposedly “destroyed” George Will’s criticism of OWS.

    He asked LaGreca why if OWS thinks the government is corrupted by Wall Street and moneyed interests, why do they want to make it bigger and more corrupt? LaGreca’s answer was that they want to “fix” government (don’t we all) and that some people want to tear it down as an overreaction. Standard fare, but he added something else. He said “an attack on government is an attack on democracy.”

    Bullshit. Democracy is the wonderful concept that people should have self-determination. Government is just a friggin construct. What happened to the whole “dissent is patriotic” stuff? That ass just said that dissent is not patriotic, that government is the answer to everything and the Tea Party, who actually PARTICIPATES IN DEMOCRACY is an enemy of the government.

    • Wonder if he (and perhaps the real organizers) means by “an attack on government is an attack on democracy” that they don’t want to “attack” (or I assume protest) Obama or I assume Bush before him for all that has happened. And by extension, I wonder if they mean that Obama should be re-elected and instead they should put all their energies into the distraction, er, I mean into the protesting of wall street so they can “change” it?

      Now I get it. First we had hope. Which meant another four years of another Bush. And now we are entering the change phase, where we “change” wall street by which I mean we continue the same wall street to government relationship.

    • DeniseVB says:

      Love ’em or Hate ’em, the Tea Party does have the coolest music videos 😀

      • The Penguin says:

        It was better in the original German

        • 1539days says:

          What a clever analogy. No one has ever thought to compare our Founding Fathers to the Nazis before.

        • WMCB says:

          *yawn* Let me give you a little handy tip: if you want to make an analogy, it helps if the groups you are comparing have some things in common. I mean other than them just being a collection of persons you don’t like.

          Because, see, a group of persons all in favor of more individual freedom, and much, much, less State involvement (much less than I would prefer), are not the same as an authoritarian movement that envisaged a huge, glorious, just State to which all pledged fealty and that needed to run things more, not less.

          Nazi-ism was a Statist regime, and a warped offshoot of communism. It was basically communism with nationalist fervor thrown in. The State controlled everything. That’s about as far from the teaparties as you can get.

          My biggest beef with the teaparties is that they go further than I’d like in the OTHER direction, with too little govt involvement for me. Trying to compare them with Nazis is just laughable, and ignorant.

    • myiq2xu says:

      Christine: OK, we’ve spoken a lot about them. I’m now going to bring in Jesse LaGreca who is a blogger for the liberal web site Daily Kos, and he’s been a fixture at the Wall Street protest. So Jesse, you’ve been listening to all of these descriptions of your movement. Where do you come down? I mean, we’ve talked about it as being immature, it hasn’t had a policy, sort of directive. What is it you are sort of trying to consolidate around there?
      Jesse: I think the matter at hand is that the working class people in America, you know, the 99% of Americans who aren’t wealthy, and aren’t prospering in this economy have been entirely ignored by the media. Our political leaders pander to us, but they don’t take action. They stand in the way of change. They filibuster on behalf of the wealthiest 1%; they fold on behalf of the wealthiest 1%. So, the conversation we need to have is about the future, about what type of country we really want to be, and I think the most important thing we can do in our occupation is to continue to push the narrative that’s been ignored by so many pundits and political leaders. I mean, the reality is, I’m the only working class person you’re going to see on Sunday news, political news, maybe ever; and I think that’s very indicative of the failures of our media to report on the news that matters most to our working class people.
      Christine: We are trying our best, Jesse, ..
      Jesse: And I thank you.
      Christine: and I want to ask you, some of your, you know, most vociferous supporters, you know like our colleague Paul Krugman, have spoken quite glowingly about this populist movement, and you’ve even heard people around this table saying that it should be harnessed, but also saying that it’s the moment now, to perhaps try to translate that into some kind of political question, political demand. Is there something that you can make this about?


      Jesse: I think the entire movement is about economic justice, I mean to me, and I’m not speaking in behalf of OWS, I’m just giving my personal opinion, I think it’s a matter of economic rights, and I think it’s a matter of social rights and social justice; and to the people who would take offense at the word “social” being placed before “justice,” I’d invite them to re-read the constitution.
      Christine: Let me ask George Will who wanted to ask you a quick question.
      Will: Mr. LaGreca, I hear a certain dissonance in your message. Your message is, “Washington is corrupt. Washington is the handmaiden of the powerful,” and a lot of conservatives agree with that, but then you say, this corrupt Washington that’s the handmaiden of the powerful should be much more powerful in regulating our lives. Why do you want a corrupt government bigger in our lives?
      Jesse: You know, I find that a lot of these conversations about the government tend to deflect away from Wall Street, because, let’s be honest. The lobbyists have enormous power, and they’ve shut out the voice of the American people. So, I think we should demand a government that is listening to people, and I find it ironic that when people demand action from their government, suddenly people tend to overreact and say, “Well that’s out of control government.”
      Our government is a function of our democracy. By attacking the government, we are attacking democracy. So, to me, I think, yes, we should ask our government to represent the will of the people, and the will of the people are demanding action, then they should follow suit.
      Christine: Do you think these demonstrations are going to have momentum? I mean, is it going to continue now, day after day?
      Jesse: Absolutely. People are extremely excited about what we’re doing. We’re engaging in a direct democracy conversation. I mean, the General Assembly is really the new Town Hall, and we don’t have a filibuster. We don’t have lobbyists. We don’t have a system that can be co-opted, and I invite everybody to come down and talk to us.
      Christine: Jesse, thank you so much, indeed, I appreciate you being here.
      Let me ask you Donna, clearly, unions and other democratic organizations are jumping on this. Is this something that the Democratic party feels will energize it as the Tea Party did the Republican party?
      Donna: There is no question that Democrats recognize the strength of this movement. This is a grassroots movement. On the other hand, I don’t believe that the party itself should try to lead this. Yes, teachers, firefighters, many others who have been impacted by the ongoing recession, they have a legitimate right to go out there and protest. George, many of these Americans are feeling the effect of the economy, foreclosures. How many Americans out there have lost their homes, or their homes are underwater? This is a legitimate movement, and we should not try to marginalize it.
      Christine: Peggy, I was stunned by your column this week where you were talking about a group of Wall Street, sorry Walmart moms, and you were talking about people who were taking extraordinary steps to save money: donating blood, ..
      Peggy: yes,..
      Christine: collecting aluminum cans, ..
      Peggy: yes, they are, I think we can all sometimes miss what is really happening in America. America is in distress. It’s in immediate distress, paying the bills, foreclosures, etc. But another kind of distress its under, is Americans are smart, and they can tell, this ain’t gonna get better for a while. So there is a certain, bitterness is too strong a word, despair is too strong, but maybe very upset, and not feeling so great about the future.
      It seems to me the question about OWS is this: what. Is. Your. Plan. Are ya gonna spend the next six months blocking the Brooklyn Bridge? Or are you going to harness a movement into political action which means getting together with each other in living rooms, deciding …
      Chrsitine: I’m going to have to ask Jesse that. Very quickly, did you hear that, Jesse? Are you still there?
      Jesse: Yes, I’m still here.
      Christine: Are you going to harness this into a political movement, or are you going to, you know, hang out for months?
      Jesse: What I find amusing, it that now people are looking to us to solve the political problems, and they should. But I’m not going to support one party or the other. I’m not going to tell you who to vote for, but I will encourage you to be a voter.
      I think we have succeeded tremendously in pushing the narrative that working class people can no longer be ignored, and I think that it’s very important that we have this conversation, because it’s about the future of our country.
      You know, right now, working class people are being told to sacrifice. We’re being told that our future is going to have to be put on hold in the name of austerity, and I can’t name a single country that has succeeded in solving their economic problems with austerity. So, I think the more important thing to do, is to come out and speak to us. The town halls that you see are very top heavy. Our political leaders come and try to sell us a message.
      Christine: OK
      Jesse: They should be listening to us.
      Christine: Alright, Jesse, thank you very much, indeed.

      • Mary says:

        WTH??? Amanpour’s calling it “your movement” to Jessie, who represents DKos.

        It’s not Jessie’s or DKOS’s movement. THEY appropriated it as something to support, late in the game.

        Gimme a damm break.

      • alice223 says:

        “By attacking the government, we are attacking democracy. ”

        This is bugging me, not because of any opinions I may have about the size of government, but because I’m not sure what it even means. Not that it has to mean anything, really — it’s one single person’s viewpoint. But I don’t understand how LaGreca is addressing the original question: if you believe Washington is corrupt with lobbyists and big money, how can you pressure a corrupt Washington to extend its reach and thereby regulate/prosecute the evils of Wall St? It’s a fair question to consider.

        I don’t think those who advocate for smaller government are “attacking democracy,” regardless of whether I agree with them or not. But my issue here is whether a government that has a revolving door with Wall Street would ever be compelled to regulate/prosecute Wall Street.

  11. This whole OWS is starting to remind me of a Twilight Zone episode (To Serve Man). Nice friendly gathering. All hope and changey. They’re here to make things better. Trust them.

  12. votermom says:

    SP mentions the OWS in her last speech.
    After saying that some of them seem to be the same whackos and telling them to just eat a bacon double cheeseburger and maybe some of them would be a bit happier, she said that maybe some of them are asking the same questions the Tea Party has been asking. Maybe some of them share the same fears as the Tea Party does. Maybe it’s time for them to join the TP for a real discussion. Maybe it’s time to ask as a united nation if we still believe in self-governance, and demand accountability and responsibility.
    That’s what I call breathtaking audacity and vision. If the Tea Party right and the far left OWS rank & file could at the same time stand up to the permanent political class – that would be a political earthquake off the richter scale.

    • DandyTiger says:

      That would be a real 99%. A real effort of the working class. Sadly I doubt that either side wants that. I think the Tea Party has been co-opted and I’m suspicious of the still secret goals and plans of the OWS organizers and funders. We’ve got two populist political activities pushed by different groups for power and political reasons. Neither group is on your side I fear. But we’ll see.

  13. myiq2xu says:

    Fucking Raiders!

    That was the wildest finish in years.

  14. Dakota says:


    A conservative journalist has admitted to infiltrating the group of protesters who clashed with security at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum on Saturday — and he openly claims to have instigated the events that prompted the museum to close.

    Patrick Howley, an assistant editor at the American Spectator, says that he joined the group under the pretense that he was a demonstrator. “As far as anyone knew I was part of this cause — a cause that I had infiltrated the day before in order to mock and undermine in the pages of The American Spectator,” Howley wrote. (The language in the story has since been changed without explanation.)

  15. Dakota says:


    Are the Obots out of hibernation so soon?

  16. Three Wickets says:

    Think mainly these are kids who want to protest the establishment, but they can’t protest the government because they voted for Obama and even if they are disappointed in him they are still afraid of being called racists. Aside from the fringe noise-making groups, most of these kids are ripe to be used by OFA again. I have yet to see an anti Obama sign at any of these protests. It is bizarre. Most if not all of these Wall Street banks would not exist without the help Obama’s given them.

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