It seems the Richmond Police Department should be more careful when fulfilling Freedom of Information Act requests:
After filing a Freedom of Information Act request with the Richmond Police Department for police training documents, Mo Karn received much more than expected in return: homeland security and crowd control guides that show how the police target protests.
The police filed for an emergency court order yesterday to prohibit Karn from publicizing any of the documents, which should never have been released. The cops’ reasoning? “Defendant Mo Karn is a known and admitted anarchist.”
The documents, however, have already been published online. And buried in the training guides are insights into three trends in law enforcement that have been occurring not just in Virginia, but nationally: the demonization of protest, the militarization of police, and turning local cops into “terrorism” officials.
Hilarious is the only word for this. It’s always good to see the bad guys screw up once in a while. The documents themselves are interesting reads. Since this information is so secret that the Richmond Police Department attempted to prevent them from being published I decided to upload some local copies here:
I haven’t had time to actually read through all of these documents so please refer to the linked story for the highlights or read through the documents at your liesure (eventually I’ll get around to read them and if I find anything interesting I’ll probably post about it). With that said the 2009 Virginia Terrorist Threat Assessment manual has some interesting things to say about anarchists:
Anarchist extremists adhere to the anti-government movement which rejects governmental rule and police authority and advocates violent means to overthrow social, political, and economic hierarchies. The most current reporting includes known individuals, meetings and activities, internet reference, and law enforcement encounters in Chesterfield, Henrico, Richmond, Fredericksburg, Strasburg, Williamsburg, Arlington County, Nelson, Smyth, Wythe, and Montgomery counties, as well as around Virginia Military Institute and William and Mary. Past anarchist activity or presence has been reported in Chesterfield, Christiansburg, Harrisonburg, Henrico, Norfolk, Prince Edward, and Prince William County, as well as by the Blue Ridge Regional Jail Authority. Reported activities have included public disturbances, conferences, and protests. In the past, Virginia’s primary anarchist figure of note was Peter Gelderloos, who is currently awaiting trial in Spain.
Many of the individuals who comprise this movement in Virginia are college age youth or college students, mostly located in the Richmond and Harrisonburg areas. These extremists have created their own training manuals and use list-serves and blogs to communicate, although the Virginia Anarchist Federation (VAF) webpage shows that attempts to organize on a large scale have been unsuccessful. Anarchists have been known to cooperate with environmental and animal rights groups and have engaged in hostile confrontations with white supremacist groups. Although the anarchist threat to Virginia is assessed as low, these individuals view the government as unnecessary, which could lead to threats or attacks against government figures or establishments.
I emphasized the most interesting pieces. First let me address the claim that anarchists “advocate violent means to overthrow social, political, and economic hierarchies.” Most of the comments made by the media and police regarding anarchists assume that anarchism is a single unified philosophy, as I explained some time ago it’s not. Some anarchists do believe in violent tactics, others oppose violent tactics entirely. To write a blanket statement like the one above demonstrates who ignorant of anarchism the state really is, which is probably why they fear it so much.
The whole “These extremists have created their own training manuals and use list-serves and blogs to communicate” line was just too funny. Watch out! The anarchists known how to read and post on list-serves (although I don’t believe anybody uses list serves to communicate today, everybody has moved on to web-based forums). Apparently anarchists also use blogs to communicate… interesting. I would have never guessed that.
I’m surprised they said anarchists have “engaged in hostile confrontations with white supremacist groups” like it’s a bad thing. Fuck neo-Nazis, seriously. The Ku Klux Klan? They can go to Hell. I’ll also point out that it was very likely the white supremacist groups were the ones who most often initiated hostilities. Any philosophy founded on mass extermination of entire ethnic groups or lynching of black individuals in the South isn’t exactly on pacifist grounds.
Finally the last line was nothing but pure fear mongering. First, anarchist usually don’t view government as unnecessary, they view it as violent and thus undesirable. In essence anarchists oppose violence, which is why it’s unlikely they will attack any government agents (and before anybody brings up Alexander Berkman, I said such an act is unlikely not impossible).
The state’s fear of anarchists has always amused me and it’s always entertaining to read their manuals that mention anarchism. I’m sure the other manuals will turn up some gold as well but now that their secrets are in the hands of anarchists the state will have to change their tactics.