postvirtual

Counterespionage

In France, March on Brussels on 7 September 2011 at 21:45

Ste. Catharine de Fierbois, September 7

Day 44 of the March on Brussels. From Les Ormes, 23 km

View from my tent, the mairie of Les Ormes

Dear people,

A recurring theme, both in the march and in the acampadas, is the question of the infiltrados. I’ve heard and seen things with respect to this, but I prefer not to give it too much importance. It might get out of hand.

As I noticed, rumours can easily influence behaviour, and few things are more susceptible to rumour than the suspicion that there are people secretly dedicated to sabotage.

Of course, the first thing a good infiltrado will do, is stimulate these suspicions. He will warn people, whispering about the risks of talking to certain comrades. He will create mistrust and paranoia.

Some people can take this very seriously. They start to look at things and to listen to others in a different way. They can easily freak out.

The 15M movement is public, so it’s not difficult to gather information about what is going on. In fact, I’m convinced that somewhere deep down in Franco’s bunker under Puerta del Sol  there are people of the Spanish intelligence which are much better informed about the movement than any one of us.

When I was in the Communication commission of the acampada in Sol, I noticed that notebooks containing contact details of volunteers, translators and press contacts regularly disappeared. The same happened to parts of the archive that was guarded by Documentation.

Another job of an infiltrator is to sabotage the decision making process by blocking certain key propositions. This happens often, especially in the more sensible commissions of Economy and Politics. It leads to paralysis and discouragement.

Unlike many of the more susceptible members I don’t think that our movement is bursting with infiltrados on all sides, for the simple fact of numbers. To infiltrate all the assemblies and working groups that popped up all over Spain, it’s unlikely that police or intelligence can dispose of enough people which could credibly take part in the movement.

Still, it’s typical to see that whenever the personal frictions within a group are on the rise, or things start to go wrong, people are talking about the infiltrados again, and about the necessity to ‘defend’ ourselves.

Public marketing

Next to the ‘official’ commissions that have been formed in Sol and elsewhere, there are also known to exist some unofficial ones. One of these is the Counterespionage commission.

There is a famous anecdote going around about this commission. They say that in line with the principles of openess that characterise our movement the meetings used to be anounced publically, by megaphone. “Today Counterespionage at three o’ clock in Plaza del Carmen.” They also say that the acts of the meeting were meticulously uploaded onto the internet.

It turned out this wasn’t very effective, and soon the commission disappeared out of the public eye. In its place, secret commissions have been formed on various occasions. These are so secret that they ignore each other’s existence. Of course, it’s also possible that they don’t exist at all, and that the stories about Counterespionage are based on rumours that have been spread by the infiltrados themselves.

These stories grow like weed. You can spend an entire marching day listening to them. They are completely open source and copyleft. You can take them, modify them and redistribute them at will.

Today a handful of comrades accompany me as I take the alternative roads along the river Vienne. It’s a bit longer as usual, but I prefer to follow the water. These are the ancient veins of commerce, transport and communications, the lifeline of society. It’s along these waters that villages and cities were founded and nations expanded their borders.

We end up in another marvellous phantom village. The restaurants and the bars have closed their doors for lack of customers. Only a small pizza van parks every evening at the church square to feed the stuborn inhabitants who still resist.

In this river valley the farmers are mainly cultivating corn. A bit higher from the fields there are forests populated by wild boars. Coincidentally, this evening, a fire has been lighted and pieces of meat have been roasting for some time now. I wonder if comrade Legionario undertook a little hunting trip today…

Comrade Abdullah and comrade Cubano playing chess

Jeanne d'Arc

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