NY Police Spied for GOP convention

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry .

For at least a year before the 2004 Republican National Convention,
teams of undercover New York City police officers traveled to cities
across the country, Canada and Europe to conduct covert observations of
people who planned to protest at the convention, according to police
records and interviews.
From Albuquerque to Montreal, San Francisco to Miami, undercover New York police officers attended meetings of political groups, posing as sympathizers or fellow activists, the records show.

They made friends, shared meals, swapped e-mail messages and then filed daily reports with the department’s Intelligence Division. Other investigators mined Internet sites and chat rooms.

SNIP

But potential troublemakers were hardly the only ones to end up in
the files. In hundreds of reports stamped “N.Y.P.D. Secret,” the
Intelligence Division chronicled the views and plans of people who had
no apparent intention of breaking the law, the records show.

These
included members of street theater companies, church groups and antiwar
organizations, as well as environmentalists and people opposed to the
death penalty, globalization and other government policies. Three New
York City elected officials were cited in the reports.

Good lord it’s a bad bad bike…

At the other end of the threat spectrum was Joshua Kinberg, a
graduate student at Parsons School of Design and the subject of four
pages of intelligence reports. For his master’s thesis project, Mr.
Kinberg devised a “wireless bicycle” equipped with cellphone, laptop
and spray tubes that could squirt messages received over the Internet
onto the sidewalk or street.

The messages were printed in
water-soluble chalk, a tactic meant to avoid a criminal mischief charge
for using paint, an intelligence report noted. Mr. Kinberg’s bicycle
was “capable of transferring activist-based messages on streets and
sidewalks,” according to a report on July 22, 2004.

“This
bicycle, having been built for the sole purpose of protesting during
the R.N.C., is capable of spraying anti-R.N.C.-type messages on
surrounding streets and sidewalks, also supplying the rider with a
quick vehicle of escape,” the report said. Mr. Kinberg, then 25, was
arrested during a television interview with Ron Reagan for MSNBC’s
“Hardball” program during the convention. He was released a day later,
but his equipment was held more than a year.

Mr. Kinberg said
Friday that after his arrest detectives with the terrorism task force
asked if he knew of any plans for violence. “I’m an artist,” he said.
“I know other artists, who make T-shirts and signs.”

Here’s a 1 minute video of Joshua demonstrating his bike’s capabilities…like printing out I Love New York

More at Bikes Against Bush

4 thoughts on “NY Police Spied for GOP convention

  1. spocko says:

    Hmm. What other group of people did this kind of work during another Republican administration? Hmmmmmm. Could it be, NIXON?
    Of course they don’t want to look after real crimes. Potential crimes by artists that might get an anti bush message out is worse.

  2. dr2chase says:

    Seems to me that bike could be mass-produced, with a much cheaper controller.
    The persistence-of-vision wheel gadgets use just a few cheap parts. But, no bluetooth; you’d have to swap ROMs to
    change your message.

  3. dr2chase says:

    And if he needs an alternate purpose (in the same way that YouTube needs an alternate purpose to prove it is not just for ripping off copyright TV clips — I noticed that little “for the sole purpose of protesting” blurb), here are a few:
    Replacing the missing street signs that we lack on many roads here in the northeast; it’s easy to get lost.
    Marking routes on tours, races, and hares-N-hounds style rides.
    Giving the leaders on bike tours an easy way to indicate which path they took.
    Automated war-biking — that is, marking places on roads and bike paths where a wireless signal can be found.AOL’s got one, we might as well make one of our own.

    The controllers would vary — street signs and war driving might need a laptop, but touring instructions need maybe 10 different symbols that could be run with a switch (indicating the different turn directions) and a push button.

  4. pansypoo says:

    mass destruction of voting machines or hacking them would have been more effective. protesting is so pre 9/11.

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