Did a right-wing agent provocateur instigate Air and Space Museum pepper-spray chaos?

At Fire Dog Lake and at American Spectator, evidence indicating that Patrick Howley, Assistant Editor of right-wing rag The American Spectator, acted as an agent provocateur at an anti-war protest outside the Air and Space Museum yesterday, leading to an incident in which a number of protesters were maced.

Above is a photo (slightly modified by Boing Boing) from Opednews.com, compared with Howley's Facebook profile pic.

From Howley's own report, shortly after the incident:

I was surprised to find myself a fugitive Saturday afternoon, stumbling around aircraft displays with just enough vision to keep tabs on my uniformed pursuers. "The museum is now closed!" screamed one of the guards as alarms sounded. "Everyone make your way to the exits immediately!" Using my jacket to cover my face -- which I could feel swelling to Elephant Man proportions -- I ducked through the confused tourists and raced out the exit. "Hey, you!" shouted a female guard reaching for my arm. "Get back here!" But I was already down the steps and out of sight. Minutes earlier, I had been among those blocking major D.C. roads chanting "We're unstoppable" -- and from beneath my unshaven left-wing altar ego, I worried that we might actually be. But just as the lefties couldn't figure out how to run their assembly meeting (many process points, I'm afraid to report, were left un-twinkled), so too do they lack the nerve to confront authority. From estimates within the protest, only ten people were pepper-sprayed, and as far as I could tell I was the only one who got inside the museum

Other revealing portions of his first-person account have already been redacted, seemingly to minimize the perception that he was there in a Breitbart-esque role. FDL has more.

What appear to be photos of Howley at the scene are here.

PREVIOUSLY: "Mace in the face at Air and Space."

UPDATE, 5pm PT: A related account at the Washington Post is now up.


  1. So lemme get this straight: Anonymous are trolls & possibly “cyber-terrorists,” but guys like this & James O’Keefe are, what, journalists?  Weird, they seem more like strike breakers to me.  I mean, except for that for there to be strikes, there would have to be jobs for workers to go on strike from.

  2. Anyone actually read the article? “Agent provocateur” is a pretty gross mischaracterization of what this guy actually did. He might have accidentally escalated things by stumbling into the museum, but I see no indication he was there instigating the crowd or encouraging the behavior that led to the guards macing them all.

      1. If he was actually doing further things, fine, but this article is only referencing Howley’s own account of the events and a couple of pictures that don’t show much. So what the article says doesn’t jive with what its references say.

      2. While the guy seems like a jerk,  protestors in general really have to drop the whole tin-foil hat conspiracy theory of “agent provacateurs”.  Think about it. What would it imply if it were true? That random college Republicans are so charismatic that “true” protestors are unable to resist their urging to do bad/stupid things like the museum march?

        1. “Agent Provacateurs” are a fact of life dog.  You should read a book.  More often than not it’s a local police officer put there to provide an easy and legal excuse to arrest everybody protesting.  Protests don’t often come to bum rushing museums, so your anecdotal evidence doesn’t actually have any bearing on reality.

          1. There are real examples of police officers encouraging thieves and drug dealers to do illegal actions and then arresting them, but those work because in general thieves and drug dealers are pretty dim bulbs and so easily tricked. But wouldn’t most Occupy DC protestors consider themselves *more* intelligent than folks like Howley?

          2. They obviously were more intelligent than Howley, as he later complains that they weren’t hardcore enough to get violent and follow him into the museum. 

        2. the whole tin-foil hat conspiracy theory of “agent provacateurs”

          You really need to educate yourself.  Start here:


          A quick excerpt:

          The COINTELPRO documents disclose numerous cases of the FBI’s intentions to stop the mass protest against the Vietnam War. Many techniques were used to accomplish the assignment. “These included promoting splits among antiwar forces, encouraging red-baiting of socialists, and pushing violent confrontations as an alternative to massive, peaceful demonstrations.” 

          And COINTELPRO was just the tip of the iceberg, the one big FBI operation that’s been exposed. 

          When we were planning antiwar protests back in the ’60s, we had numerous infiltrators – mostly local police – showing up to our meetings.  

          The easiest way to identify them was that they were always the first and loudest supporters of violent but pointless action.  (Sometimes the bad ‘long-hair’ wigs helped, too.)

          We even organized them into their own cells, so they could spy on each other. :-)  Once, one such cell was briefly arrested while transporting cartons full of Molotov cocktails, only to be released in embarrassment when the arresting officers discovered that everyone in the car was 
          an undercover agent.

          Infiltrating ‘subversive’ organizations and then trying to discredit them by making them look violent or stupid or comical has a long, long history.  It’s  long been the fatal flaw in ‘black bloc’ tactics.

          No tin-foil hat required.

          1. Undercover agents certainly exist. That’s not the point. The tin-foil hat comes into play when one tries to pretend that everything bad that protestors do had to come from these agents urging them on. But it just isn’t so, and to imply that it does actually insults the intelligence of the protestors themselves.

        3. Tin-foil hat conspiracy?  You think these losers like Howley are paid by the right-wing donors for their brilliant prose or astute policy analysis or journalistic integrity? No. They are paid for their contribution to the Republican cause of ratf—ing.

          See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dirty_tricks#Watergate-era_dirty_tricks

          The Republican Party and the interests that own the Republican Party have a long history of paying young conservative activists to break the law to discredit their opponents and critics. And even after Watergate this sort of stuff didn’t stop. Just look at James O’Keefe breaking into Sen. Mary Landrieu’s phone system. Look at that crazy College Republican girl during the last election who carved a backward B in her face to make a false police report that Obama supporters had attacked her.

          Howley’s own magazine has quite the sordid history of twisting the facts to suit its purposes with its “coverage” of Anita Hill during the Clarence Thomas hearings and the Clintons during the ’90s.

          1. aw damnit… didn’t mean to pile on.

            that’s why I need to learn to read the WHOLE thread x_X

          1. I know of work on an provocateur database that’s going online and can be printed to be distributed at occupations.

            It has pictures of suspect APs and info.  It’s not for revenge, but for protection, illumination and public awareness.  It’s a touchy subject and there’s various serious ethical issues to consider with this database, but they’ve forced our hands unfortunately.

            Let’s make Agent “Provocateurism” a dead end job.

            Here some tips in the meantime:

            • Agents will often lack background connections or references. No one in your circles or related groups will know them.

            • Agents try to keep discussions and action unproductive and still. They’ll spend plenty of time debating issues, with little action. They focus on ideas over people.

            • They tend to create messes in groups and between group members. They leave chaos in their wake.

            • They tend to gravitate toward people in the group who are dissatisfied. Once relationships with those folks grow, the dissatisfaction spreads.

            • Some agents have been former prisoners who do this work as part of a deal. These folks tend to jump from organization to organization in a relatively short time.

            • Agents don’t have known sources of income. They might have a job that doesn’t match their spending or claim their money comes from prior savings.

            • They tend to provide gifts for key figures at first. This helps them build trust with the group.

            • When confronted, they will get defensive and start making their own accusations.

            • They act like zealots, but they don’t have the fruit of it. They have passion but don’t truly care.

    1. @Mar — Agent provocateur is a gross mischaracterization?  Let’s see, we have motive:  he states in his own article that he “infiltrated” the group and that he was specifically there to “undermine” the protesters.  Then we have the details of what he calls his “crime.” He describes his actions as “charging forward,” “sneaking past” the first guard, and “sprinting past” the 2nd guard to “force himself” against the doors during the melee.  He claims he was one of the few protestors to advance into the museum and the only one who made it inside.  Oh, and then we have the photo that shows him shoving his camera into the 2nd guard’s face during the confrontation, right at the lead of the “charge.”
      By his own account, he didn’t “accidentally stumble” into the museum as you claim.  He led the charge, and he’s “proud” of it.

    2. even though he admits to as much in his article.
      “[Howley claimed he] had consciously infiltrated the group on Friday with the intent to discredit the movement.  He states that “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 — and I wasn’t giving up before I had my story.”

      he was surprised that no one followed him when he broke into the museum, which was his goal, to get others for follow him in his lawbreaking.
      infiltrate, undermine and discredit – the very definition of agent provocateur.

    1. I was thinking evil Frodo.  The guy precisely fits the provocateur frame.  By his (no doubt soon to be edited) account, he alone – in his undercover masquerade as a protester – breached security and ran amok inside the museum.

      He and his ilk know that it only takes one event like that to give national media a storyline with which to completely undermine the efforts of tens of thousands of honest people over the course of months.  The only surprise is that that shitbird failed to push some tough-talking teenage “black bloc” balaclavas into destroying some telegenic artifact of American history to make the perfect Fox News clip.

      It won’t be the last try at that.

      1. Actually the march was specifically to go to the A&S museum to protest that exhibit.
        So you’re telling me that ALL those protesters are dumb enough to follow and organize around the idea of ONE person?

        1. You must be right, because in the entire history of humankind, one person has never been able to persuade a number of other people to do anything. 

  3.  http://spectator.org/archives/2011/10/08/standoff-in-dc

    You could read Mr Howley’s article. It suggests his side of the story, which is pretty much as everyone has described it.

    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.

    He admits to it.

  4. @boingboing-c8b3be4aad90e369541a008fe12438d2:disqus  did you read Howley’s article?

    Howley admits to it in his article: http://spectator.org/archives/2011/10/08/standoff-in-dc

    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.

    1. Did /you/ read Howley’s article? I don’t see joining in with what the crowd does as “enticing or provoking another person to commit an illegal act,” which is what an agent provocateur is.

  5. “But 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

    An agent provocateur is one who “seeks to discredit or harm another by provoking them to commit a wrong or rash action.”

    He’s not an informant because he’s got too big of an ego to keep himself under wraps long enough.

    See Anna: http://news.infoshop.org/article.php?story=2006062117163688
    or Brandon Darby: http://louisianajusticeinstitute.blogspot.com/2011/08/common-ground-co-founder-who-became-fbi.html

    I’m sure there’re feds trying to find the “leaders” of this movement to incite them; but this loudmouth idiot is just a good reminder to be cautious about people who’re too feverish about commiting felonies.

  6. Howley certainly did achieve his objective.

    The sheer numbers of news reports attributing the violent confrontation at the A&S museum  “Occupy” participants as the sole responsible party is evidence of his success.  Even boingboing bit on the deception.

    Now that that “news” has pervaded the public’s consciousness, it can be used by anti-“Occupy” and other right-wing political operations as the foundation for a factory producing zombie-lies ad infinitum.

    Howley’s chosen course of political deception follows in the proud GOP tradition of infiltration and targeted infusion of misinformation that “honors” Nixon’s “successes” and those of the 2000 Florida Recount hostilities fomented by right-wing political professionals portraying a “mob” of concerned & angry, “regular” citizens now known as the “Brooks Bros. Brigade” as well as Breitbart and his well-paid prevaricators.

    I hope this Orwellian bell can be un-rung.


    1. Now that that “news” has pervaded the public’s consciousness, it can be used by anti-“Occupy” and other right-wing political operations as the foundation for a factory producing zombie-lies ad infinitum.

      This movement started with social media, it continues with social media and will prevail via social media (and alternative online media).  The corporate media has never been our friends and never will be.  It’s not like the mainstream media was already helping to promote the movement in the first place; yet this has been spreading rapidly and continues to do so.

      If someone is too dense to get the facts on what happened here and instead demonizes the movement, it’s likely that person was already lost a long time ago.

      Look at people like J. Badger up there.  Even with facts laid before him, he still thinks and promotes that there wasn’t a provocateur at all (or that they even exist for that matter despite that being categorically false).

      Obtuse idiots will never change, but this movement isn’t about them.  It’s for the rest of us with critical thinking skills and a desire for a break from serfdom to the aristocrats.

      It’s like the break-up of the Soviet Union all over again.  There were many hardliner communists that were so pacified and used to being told what to do by the rich who controlled the communistic government, that they FEARED and resisted change.  They couldn’t handle nor wrap their heads around freedom.

      There’s many in the United States that are just the same.  They fear more self-determination.  They’d rather be suck-ups to the corporatists and be told what to do.  They have a fear of true change and embrace the status quo.  Some serfs are perfectly willing to say and do anything for the aristocrats as long as the money gets piped in via grants, investment, etc. that helps them personally.

      We need to leave them behind if they can’t keep up.  They just stand there like sticks in the mud in fear and befuddlement as our revolution spreads all around them.

      It’s movement vs. sticks in the mud – if they think what the media tells them to think, then we don’t need them.  If they are locked in fear of change and are cowards, then we don’t need them.  There’s plenty of courageous Americans still left out there and we need to tap into those people.

  7. “But just as the lefties couldn’t figure out how to run their assembly
    meeting” He couldn’t get enough of  them to solidify and gel the idea to take over the museum (as well as being confused by the lack of a clear chain of command which is an exciting feature of this movement).  ”

     “so too do they lack the nerve to confront authority. From
    estimates within the protest, only ten people were pepper-sprayed, and
    as far as I could tell I was the only one who got inside the museum”
    A lot of people were obviously unwilling to to risk a violent confrontation, because they are NON-violent, a point obviously escaping our unctuous liar. I find it completely hilarious that he is the only one inside the museum stumbling around.  I would say he was the one who wanted to be there the most. 

  8. Socialist indoctrination methods are surprisingly effective … marching down E Street toward Freedom Plaza chanting, “How do we end the deficit? End the war and tax the rich!”

    I fail to see how this is an opinion worthy of disdain. Add up the numbers and, in fact, the wars and the Bush tax cuts are entirely responsible for the deficit.

    I deserved to get a face full of high-grade pepper

    Yes, Mr. Howley, you did.

  9. Wait, does this make this group part of Occupy DC again? Isn’t that how it works?

    Hm… perhaps only if he convinced them to go to the museum in the first place.

  10. Well it’s simple:  when we spot this guy, or James O’Keefe, or any agent provocateur, or agent ridiculous (someone who usually gets to the mic and makes the movement look stupid); we should surround them and escort them PEACEFULLY out of the area; I would even suggest handing them over to the cops (who may be relieved to see their guy well-treated).

    Also, we should should start posting photos of known-agent provocateurs and under-covers. Maybe a billboard near each OCCUPY site with “NOT-WANTED-HERE” posters describing the person, what they did to deserve this status, and photos or drawings to help ID them. Legal team should be involved.

    Take a LOT of photos and videos.  Name and shame.  The 1% have only started, so be careful out there.

  11. Yeesh – what a jackass. Way to 1) make your ’cause’ look stupid, and 2) spell out what you did so that if they tried to charge him with trespassing or some such, it would be pretty open/shut.

  12. I seem to remember the some of the usual right-wing folks claiming that it was left-wing plants put into the audience at that Rand Paul rally who curb-stomped that lady.   They then turn around and claim ignorance on the part of crowd plants.  

    It reminds me of the mindset where the redstaters claim that all liberals are “intolerant and hateful”. Sometimes I wish that I could distill their fantasy land into a pill so that I could be so cornfed, happy, and ignorant of everything going on.

    1. She was trampled, intentionally, but “curb-stomp” has a very specific meaning and she was not curb-stomped.

      1. Right, because curb stomping is where you force a victim down on the curb and make them “eat it” by stepping on their neck or head in such a way to break their teeth.  What happened to the woman in the Rand Paul encounter was that she was forced down on to a curb and held there while another man stepped on her neck but she didn’t break her teeth, only her glasses…so you know, totally different.


  13. The guy is an idiot frat boy and the AmSpec piece is most likely damage control, in my view.

    I can just imagine the conversation he had with his bosses afterwards:

    FratBoy:  Hey, isn’t this great!  I impersonated an Occupy protester and made them look bad!

    AmSpecBoss:  Idiot!  They got pictures of you, you moron!  The pics are all over the place now!  They’ll soon figure out you’re one of us!

    FratBoy:  …oh…

    AmSpecBoss:    This is a disaster.   Our only hope is to try and spin this by outing you as one of us before they do.  Do it NOW before I decide to fire your stupid ass, dipwad!

    FratBoy:  …uhh, uhh, yessir!  Rightawaysir!

  14. I have to admit I am amused how the goalposts have moved from “How dare those violent protesters attack a museum!” to “So all of the protesters were stupid enough to follow a provocateur into attacking the museum?”.

  15. I think that any Occupy folk who spot Mr. Howley should turn him into the cops for self-admitedly creating a civil disturbance and in the ffuture, anyone who wants to go inside to make trouble needs to be photographed and ratted out to the cops proactively…oh, and please consider trailing American Spectator staff and calling out “LAWBREAKERS LAWBREAKERS” when ever you seem em…so much for TPers never breaking the law when they protest!  ROTFLOL

    1.  “so much for TPers never breaking the law when they protest!  ROTFLOL”

      Oh they don’t break the law when THEY protest. Apparently they only break the law when OTHER people protest.

      Additionally, I’d suggest that anyone caught in the pepper-spraying this creep instigated should sue him back into irrelevance.

  16. From the wiki on “dirty tricks”:

    Watergate-era dirty tricks
    Main article: Watergate scandal
    The Nixon Committee to Re-elect the President (CRP), a private non-governmental campaign entity, used funds from its coffers to pay for, and later cover up, “dirty tricks” performed against opponents by Richard Nixon’s employee, Donald Segretti. Segretti famously coined the term ‘ratfucking’ [1] for recruiting conservative members to infiltrate opposition groups (and/or misrepresent them through false flag activities) in order to undermine the effectiveness of such opposition.
    As a result of post-Watergate reform legislation, such activities are strictly regulated, though other private entities still may practice what has become commonly referred to as questionable or unethical dirty tricks.
    Recent nomenclature equates a Dirty Tricks Squad to any organized, covert attempt to besmirch the credibility or reputation of a candidate, individual or organization so as to render them ineffective.

  17. Jonathan Badger: Judging from your comment you likely have very little experience of actual grassroot protests. A provocateur doesn’t have to lure masses to follow him wherever he leads. It is enough to, like this asshole in LA, to himself do actions that are violent or otherwise out of bounds. That will in turn cause police or authority violence or ramped up coercion. There’s always a likelihood that some others will then lose their cool. Most won’t. But if you knew anything about actual protests you’d know that it is enough for a substantial minority to turn violent for the protest to risk falling to pieces.

    The fact that Patrick Howley positioned himself in the front line and might have been the primary agent that triggered the pepper spray, and that he did all this with intent to disrupt a democratic assembly, only highlights his contempt for democracy.

    1. No. An agent provocateur *does* have to lure masses to follow him. He is an agent who provokes illegal actions by others. That’s what it means. Someone who merely commits illegal actions by themselves is not an agent provocateur, even if he, like Howley, is doing it under false pretenses to discredit a group he dislikes.

      1. At the point where your argument becomes trite and 100% semantic, it becomes important to stop and ask yourself: “Why am I still talking?”

        1. At the point where your argument becomes trite and 100% semantic, it becomes important to stop and ask yourself: “Why am I still talking?”

          You should have been an advisor for Bill Clinton in the 90’s.

      2. Personally, I understand the term to mean the agent provocateur makes the crowd *appear* more provocative to the enforcement.

        That is, he provokes enforcement, not disobedience. The one may sometimes, but not always, require the other.

        1. There might be a need for a term to describe someone who provokes law enforcement to respond, but it isn’t “agent provocateur”.

          1. We could also go ahead and continue using the term that everyone else already uses; an added benefit being that there would be one less way to have discussions derailed.

          2. Yes, I agree that we should use “agent provocateur”  in the sense everybody else already uses. However, I would recommend first using a dictionary and Wikipedia to learn what that sense is. You have already argued that I’m too obsessed with semantics, but there is a real issue here behind the semantics. Claiming that Occupy DC has infiltrators (even just ones as incompetent as Howley) is one thing, and the paranoid claim that factions of it are being led by a Republican conspiracy (as the label of agent provocateur suggests), quite another.

          3. “Traditionally, an agent provocateur (plural: agents provocateurs, French for “inciting agent(s)”) is a person employed by the police or other entity to act undercover to entice or provoke another person to commit an illegal act. More generally, the term may refer to a person or group that seeks to discredit or harm another by provoking them to commit a wrong or rash action.” — Wikipedia

            Howley is employed by a conservative paper, so arguably he fits the first, “traditional” definition; but he surely fits the second, more general, definition.

          4. Unless there is more to the story, I just don’t see how he incited or provoked the protestors to do anything (they stayed outside, to their credit). This isn’t a defense of Howley, nor is it a nitpick. It’s the whole point of the accusation.

          5. “I just don’t see how he incited or provoked the protestors to do anything”

            From his own, written and signed statement (the original version before his editors started redacting bits an’ pieces):

            “as far as anyone knew I was part of this cause (…) I strained to glance behind me at the dozens of protesters I was sure were backing me up, and then I got hit again, this time with a cold realization: I was the only one who had made it through the doors. As two guards pointed at me and started running, I dodged a circle of gawking old housewives and bolted upstairs.”

            It’s NOT a matter of outcome, It’s a matter of intent.

          6. Well, the point of his article is that they didn’t follow him (or didn’t do a very good job of it). Just because he was a bad agent provocateur doesn’t mean he wasn’t one.

          7. Well, perhaps he was one in his own mind at least, if not in reality. Did he think they would just follow his lead spontaneously?

          8. I just want to make sure that you do realize we’re talking about a man who inserted himself into the protest for nefarious reasons (agent provocateur), who works for a right-wing paper-thing (Republican, etc.), and clearly planned this ahead of time (conspiracy).

            But go on.

  18. The guy appears to be another smarmy and arrogant shitizen journalist in the mold of James O’Keefe. While he may be a little or even a lot responsible for the melee at the Air and Space Museum, he couldn’t have done it if there weren’t a whole bunch of others willing to go along with a negative publicity master-stunt like trying to break through the doors of a symbol of American scientific achievement. Add in the pepper-spraying cops, and  you have what might be a trifecta of ill-advised behavior. Something in this story to make persons of every social and political stripe cringe, ain’t there?

  19. There are many good protest plans that rely on people agreeing on the same tactics, or the same range of tactics. There are good reasons to protest the drones, and ways to march up and non-violently protest at the door.

    I don’t know what the protesters’ plan was. But when one or two agents-provocateurs start attacking people, get other people injured and/or arrested, they can make any perfectly good plan look like some completely different and stupid plan.

  20. I look for these incidents to increase as we progress. I’ve been working with Occupy Albuquerque and we had our first arrest yesterday after a week of Peaceful Occupation. With OWS occupations springing up across the nation and globe, the implications of a nascent global democracy are a direct threat to the Wall St. Looter Society. The Keys of Truth and Non-Violence are what they are attacking. Notice the choice of the Black Security guard to attack so the photo shows what can be spun as White Hooligans attacking a Black Police Officer. The Right’s memes are already in play. We’re ALL Commies or under Commie Leadership, a secret Obama plot and under the pay of George Soros.  So, as an old Berkeley radical and Vietnam Vet, I always remember THIS question,

    How do you tell the FBI agent in your organization?

    HE’S the one who ALWAYS advocates violent action.

    1. How do you tell the FBI agent in your organization? HE’S the one who ALWAYS advocates violent action.

      Right, and when you turn his ass in for trying to incite violence, the cops will wisk him away and you never hear from the piece of shit again.

  21. This guy is an ass, and he might have made the situation worse, but there is still a lesson here.  Seriously, use your head.  Trying to bring a protest inside of a museum is really, really, incredibly stupid.  The place is filled with priceless artifacts.  Even if no one does anything stupid, the chances of a crowd doing something accidentally stupid is huge.  It takes one busted priceless artifact because someone in the crowd was being stupid to lose a lot of support very quickly.

    Further, I find the idea of protesting the air and space museum kind of abhorrent.  Sure, it has a drone exhibit.  It has a LOT of military craft because they are key to the history of air and space.  For fuck’s sake, you don’t need to agree with Nazi’s to view a V-2 flying bomb in a museum.  It doesn’t mean that the museum endorses V-2s if they display them.  It displays it because it is a major piece of history.  The same is true with drones.  Drones are, without any doubt, a major development in the history of air and space.   To NOT display them would be absurd. 

    There are a dozen alphabet soup agencies, a pile of embassies, and freaking the white house and congress to protest.  Leave the museums alone.  Getting a museum trashed is on par with book burning.  It will win you no friends.

    1. Who exactly was talking about trashing anything? Why were those people more likely to accidentally break something than the other millions of people who go through those doors?

      1. Get 100 people together, I promise you that at least one of them is criminally stupid and destructive.  One idiot is all it takes.  It takes exactly one dumbass who thinks he has something to prove to make everyone else look like a moron.  The chances of someone acting like a dumbass go up dramatically if you get together a bunch of pissed off people.

        If you have a pile of people of unknown ideology and trustworthiness, don’t go do something stupid like put those people in the position to make asses out of an entire movement.  They had at least right wing nut job.  What if they had had two?  What if there had been a guy a little too high on anarchy in the UK who was convinced the answer was to break something?  What if there is one douche bag who wants to impress some hot protester ladies with his macho fearlessness in the face of authority?  What if the security gets pissed and in their attempts to break up the march inside a museum something gets destroyed?  This is the brutal reality of gathering up a pile of angry and pissed people and doing something with them.

        I’m not saying don’t go and protest, but for fuck’s sake, pick your battles.  If you go march in circles around the White House, the worst that happens is someone gets out of hand and starts a fight with the police and it ends with them getting hauled off and making you look perhaps slightly worse, but not by much.  On the other hand, the possible victories you could score is either police doing something dumb (“don’t mace me bro!”) or the small but perfectly acceptable PR win of getting a little attention.

        Storming into a science and technology history museum?  Seriously, WTF do  you think is the BEST case scenario?  You annoy some tourist touring one of our better museums and scare some little kids who don’t understand WTF you are about, other than that you are loud?  What is the WORST that could happen?  You break something, or one jack ass goes and does something stupid and your name gets tied to it.  Hell, even if nothing goes wrong, “protesters storm national museum to protest drone exhibition” sounds only one step less crazy that “crazy ass baby Jesus worshipers storm library to protest Harry Potter books” to the normal American.

        You are trying to create a NATIONAL movement one hopes includes more than a few extreme leftist idealist.  Part of appealing to a broader scope means that you might have to tamp down on the crazy for a few seconds and THINK about how your actions are viewed by the normals… you know, the 99% you are trying to save.   

  22. What’s really sad is that the 99% movement is politically impartial: it’s neither liberal nor conservative.

    It’s pro-capitalist, pro-open-market, pro-fiscal-responsibility.

    It’s anti-monopolist, anti-corporate-lobbyist.

    Left vs right seems to be about overreach by government against the people.

    But the 99% vs 1% is about overreach by corporations against the people.

    Not opposing: tangential. In both cases, the campaigns are because people are sick of being considered the least important aspect when making a government decision.

  23. And already, the coverup has begun.

    Last night, Howley’s article at the Spectator included the following admission:

    …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 — and I wasn’t giving up before I had my story.

    Today, the same paragraph reads:

    … as far as anyone knew I was part of this cause — a cause that I had infiltrated the day before — and I wasn’t giving up before I had my story.

    That’s a very, very telling redaction.  

    You watch, now they’ll try to spin it that he was just a reporter in the honorable tradition of undercover journalism,  there to report the facts; not a provocateur bent on mocking and undermining the movement.

    Unfortunately for them, in today’s wired world, it’s not that easy to erase history.

  24. It’s clear that all of this is Howley’s fault.  Certainly not the mob who tried to invade a national museum. Thank god the guilty party has been identified.

  25. Sorry, but has anyone else noticed that the shape of the ear is all wrong. I did some forensics and based on what I’ve seen, these are NOT pictures of the same person.

    1. That was one of the first details I looked for, and I disagree with your assessment. The angles are different. I’m not positive, but I see nothing that proves these are not pictures of the same person.

      At any rate, nobody’s trying to prove the guy was there. He wrote it himself, boasted that he was there, and did these things. The photos are interesting, but not necessary to the point of the story.

  26. With all the distracting trite semantic arguments going on (you know who you are), we aren’t talking about the other provocateur.

    We still need to find the scumbag meathead in the photo and potentially others that were in cahoots with Patrick Howley the Howler.

  27. The article is not only redacted, by now it is also removed from the site. (Or at least the links above are broken. It is still available in the Blog section though.)

  28. Seeing as American Spectator is removing all links to this article from their pages, here is a screenshot from what it originally looked like, before redactions.

    It’s basically a written confession of criminal behavior. Not committed by any of the people he was supposedly “infiltrating for journalistic purposes” but by him alone. And then he tries to attribute his own behavior to the people he claims he was infiltrating. It’s just… weird.

    Anyway. I´d say you can remove the question mark from the headline.  Someone in New York needs to formally report this guy to the police, just in case the coppers don’t read BB.

    1. Seeing as American Spectator is removing all links to this article from their pages, here is a screenshot from what it originally looked like, before redactions.

      Hahah that’s insane. I mean this “I deserved to get a face full full of pepper spray … the guards acted with more courage than I saw from any of the protesters” is just so wack. It could almost be a YES men stunt, if this guy was an actor playing a right wing agent provocateur playing a left wing peacenik.

      The irony is that real right wing insanity is indistinguishable from left wing satire. 

      1. The irony is that real right wing insanity is indistinguishable from left wing satire.

        That’s true and it actually frightens and saddens me.  I sometimes deal with these rightwingers (and some conservative bluedogs) on a daily basis (in the flesh, not online) and I often have to later shake my head in disbelief that otherwise functional people have such misinformed and downright crazy beliefs and twisted, hypocritical “ethics” (if any at all) all rolled into one.

        They’ll do some charity thing that costs very little in time and effort overall so it gets them square with Jesus, but then completely fuck over people in business or their family members for some grudge or “tough love” bullshit excuse.  The kings and queens of obtuse denial of their own reality and the reality of the world around them.  And the obtuse denials often seem to mesh with making them more money than people with ethics, which is a shame.

        Also, you keep screwing over your child and abusing them you end up with weird, twisted man-boys like Newt Gingrich, etc.

        And, it’s especially scary when you consider we’ve allowed many of these nutjobs to run the show for so long.  No wonder our country is so massively screwed up.  It would almost seem like crazy people have been running it for a while… because… they have.

        There’s a nice scary Halloween thought.  I think we’ve gone to the brink and I just hope this isn’t all too late.  Never, ever allow crazy people to run things..  and that’s exactly what happens when the public lets go of the wheel and just lets everything cruise on its own.  A democracy can’t function without interaction with its people and now look where we are.

        I just hope we grasp the steering wheel before these crazy nutjobs drive us ALL straight off the rapidly approaching cliff.

  29. Did he get the pat on the head and gold star from his elderly right-wing golf buddies that he so desperately craves?

    1. It’s weird, I thought basically the same thing about Patrick Howley.
      You can see it in his eyes.

      I’ve met weasels like this guy before and felt like I had to shower afterwards to get the scum off myself.

      1. LOL!  I work with a guy who looks so much like this I did a double-take. I have… exactly the same opinion of him. Something about the expression. I wouldn’t have said anything if two other people hadn’t though! 

        1. I know, it’s crazy.  He also looks like one of the most douchey characters in “The Office”

    1. Ah, still exists, I guess they are just hiding it

      What’s more likely is they had a meeting and someone slightly smarter than the rest of the stooges informed them that they CAN’T hide it because it’s already all over the Internet.  So they begrudgingly put it back up simply because it looks worse to hide it.

      I noticed the plea for money when I clicked your link.  I edited here to show the option I wanted:

      1. Haha! great edit to the “give us money” add
        And I agree, It was very suspicious because I was searching the entire spectator sight for about 10 min before suddenly is was back in his recent articles, also the text is changed, as washington post pointed out.

  30. Well, police infiltrates demonstrations here in Chile all the time. At the students big protests, there have been a number of agitators who have been seen as they walk into police buses after the riots starts.

    By the way: I don´t care about the version of that guy on the photo. What I want to hear is that cats’s version!

  31. Makes me wonder if the left has (or could organize) a decent, crowd sourced counter-intelligence program…

    1. Unfortunately, they probably soaked it all up. Hence I’m adding costume eyebrows to my kit now.

  32. The funny part is, if this dumbass had kept his mouth shut, the right wing could have run with this for days claiming it was “leftists showing their true, violent nature” before the truth came out. Now they’ve got to frantically do damage control because he couldn’t strap his ego down long enough for the right to make this their new rage point.

    1. Seems to me that the self-exposure of their provocateur isn’t likely to stop them from running with it for days. 

      Not that I’m willing to hold my nose and watch corporate “news” to find out.

      1. It’s possible. But I’m figuring that if they were going to, it would have stated by now. They’re probably all individually worried that if they do, one of the other news agencies will run the “Nope, it was just this one dick of a right winger” and make them look stupid.

  33. ” A select few tried to storm the building”

    That would be the undercover FBI agent, undercover Homeland Security agent, undercover city police, undercover state police and the undercover reporter. 

  34. Anyone who sees this mattress-stain-gone-wrong in the street: Please mace the smarmy conservative asshole.

    PS: If he wants to claim he’s there as a journalist, I don’t see any press ID or lanyards round his neck.

  35. Minds that hate. Howley probably wasn’t nurtured as a child, and he will spend his life making up for it by despising himself and everyone else.

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