An FBI symposium

"On Thursday, October 25, at the Seattle Fur Exchange Bid Room in Renton, from 8 am to 4:30pm, the FBINAA [FBI National Association of Agents] Washington Chapter will present 'Civil Disobedience—Lessons Learned.' Speakers will include: FBI Special Agent in Charge Charlie Mandigo, Washington State Patrol Chief Annette Sandberg, Spokane Chief of Police Roger Bragdon, Sgt. Greg Miller from WSP Colfax, Sgt. Chuck Tilby from Eugene Oregon Police Department, and Capt. Jim Pugel, Seattle Police Department. There is a possibility there may be an appearance from Ancil B. Sparks, FBI Quantico.

"This course of instruction will focus on lessons learned from WTO, riots at WSU, and intelligence information on anarchist groups. This course of instruction is geared toward persons in management dealing with the command post, city and county councils, and the media. Is your community prepared for civil disobedience? Cost is $25, including lunch. Washington Criminal Justice credit will be awarded."

Since this taxpayer-funded course is open only to law enforcement personnel (must show badge and ID), we here at Impolitics thought we would share with you an actual transcript of some of the comments by participants. The moderator is John Susseman of the FBINAA Washington Chapter.

Moderator: Last year, several windows were broken and graffiti was sprayed on downtown Seattle businesses during the height of the holiday shopping season. What did law enforcement learn from this experience?

Sandberg: People get upset when law enforcement brutalizes thousands of nonviolent protesters and bystanders and then blames it on the subsequent actions of an isolated minority.

Mandigo: Mass dosing of pepper spray is an ineffective strategy for dispersing people who are peacefully exercising their free speech rights. The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit also subsequently ruled such spraying unconstitutional. Don't ever do it again.

Pugel: Equip your riot police with diapers so that they can piss in their pants during 18-hour shifts.

Sparks: Don't leave special event planning to locals.

Bragdon: Be police chief in Spokane, not Seattle.

Moderator: Chuck, what do we know about the anarchists?

Tilby: They believe that governments are inherently violent and selfish. They are primarily young but include people of all ages. They don't vote. In other words, they're pretty much just like anyone else.

Moderator: Seattle police were given detailed advance information on the plans of certain anarchists to engage in property destruction during WTO, but did nothing to respond. Why?

Mandigo: Breaking windows is no big deal. Advocating policies the government doesn't like is much more serious.

Tilby: That's why we spent so many hours spying on those harmless anarchists down in Eugene in the first place! And now we've got to get secret grand juries to bust their asses when you could have done it much more easily!

Sparks: Let's not lose sight of the larger picture. Charlie is right. Dissent is a serious thing. However, most WTO protesters weren't anarchists and we only validate them when we as representatives of government punish people for their political beliefs. Besides, you can always claim that a restrictive ordinance kept you from gathering intelligence on civilians.

(General laughter.)

Pugel: Our mayor made a decision to use only 400 officers to patrol a crowd of tens of thousands of protesters and the city council refused to allocate the resources needed to properly train those officers in crowd management.

Bragdon: In other words, your people didn't know what they were doing and jeopardized the lives of civilians as a result. Say, this lunch is awful.

Moderator: Law enforcement representatives repeatedly lied to mass media during the WTO protests, claiming, for example, that no rubber bullets had been used; that no serious injuries occurred among protesters; that protesters deployed Molotov cocktails; and that police resorted to tear gas, pepper spray, and other coercive tactics only in response to protester "violence." These misrepresentations were accepted uncritically and repeated by almost every major news organization in the country. Comments?

Mandigo, Sandberg, Bragdon, Miller, Tilby, Pugel, Sparks: SUCKERS!!

Moderator: Let's turn for a moment to the Washington State University disturbances. Why was this event at least as important as the WTO protests?

Miller: Nobody gives a rat's ass about trade policy, but everybody wants more beer.

Tilby: Actually, the WTO is a much more important precedent. We had a campus disturbance like that in Eugene, too, with arrests and property destruction at least comparable to what the anarchists caused. But we didn't get nearly as much funding for fancy new hi-tech riot gear as we did when we started invoking the anarchist threat.

Moderator: What will you do when the next major trade conference comes to your city?

Sandberg: Faithfully respect the First Amendment rights of protesters. Not arrest hundreds of people on flimsy pretexts just so a fascist city attorney can dick around for months before dropping charges.

Mandigo: Lay off Capitol Hill.

Miller: You've got to be kidding. In Colfax?

Pugel: Keep the police chief and sack the mayor.

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