Saturday, November 22, 2014

More useful "undercover" operations

There has been some anxiety among some privacy and civil rights groups recently concerning the infiltration of crowds and public demonstrations by undercover police officers  and federal agents during events of national concern (or at least for some), although mostly when the participants involved are judged to be “socialist” in nature. The U.S. Supreme Court with its far-right extremist judges—who have no life experiences in which to “judge” that the world has changed in the past 200 years—have become a lightning rod of liberal angst. Not that the opinions of the extremists would be swayed anyways, but it does demonstrate their paranoia and the nature of their ideology. But then again, law enforcement also tends to view the “lefties” and “socialists” as being, if not the strictly the enemy, “unfriendly.”

These days it is more likely the right-wing nut-jobs who pose greater danger to public safety, but if intrepid undercover officers want to do something useful, they could find “crime” and “subversive” activity occurring elsewhere. For example:  

Undercover Homeless Agent: Police spend a lot of rousting homeless people, but they have little or no “inside” knowledge of their “criminal” habits. From “word on the street” comes news that there is a “major” operation of unknown nature is afoot amongst the homeless population. This is information is disseminated, discussed, and a plan of action decided upon. Officer A volunteers to root out the criminal doings with all due daring enterprise. Officer A will “infiltrate” the homeless community on the date the suspected “operation” is to “go down.” He prepares by allowing unsightly facial hair to appear on his chiseled visage, his hair unkempt by comb, and much to the distress of home and colleague, he declines to bath or change his drawers and socks for a whole week.

On the appointed day, Officer A dons attire suitable for the “bum,” and sallies forth into evening hours to mingle with the criminals. He observes that after a mild spell it has suddenly become quite cold, and his attire does nothing to ward off the biting wind. However, if he decides not to call off the operation and return home, because clearly there is some forethought involved with carrying out the operation in cold weather by the crafty homeless criminal. He ventures about town but sees nothing. Very suspicious. He decided to enter a 24-hour restaurant to warm his shivering mass, but when the manager inquires if he is going to purchase anything, but because he has no money he is threatened with police action if he does not abscond from the premises.

He finally locates a “suspect,” a raggedly-dressed woman he spies with an obviously stolen shopping cart filled with a suspiciously eccentric variety of objects, like more ragged clothing, bags of canned food, stale bread, a mouth-eaten blanket and some old newspapers. Unfortunately she has no inside information to impart concerning the criminal activity of unknown nature. Instead, she just annoys him with inquiries about spare change and information about the nearest shelter—which he admittedly has no knowledge of himself. 

Undercover Officer A states in his report that the still unknown criminal action had not taken place because of the freezing temperatures. He notes that he has been chased out of another fast restaurant for loitering. Then a security guard chases him out of a stairwell. Exhausted, he sleeps in garbage bin, until a dump truck shows up. He sleeps under an overpass, until chased away by police, who in spite of his protestations as to his identity, he brought no identification as proof and he is cited for criminal trespass. 

Desperate, Officer A walks a long distance to keep his feet from going numb. By dawn he at last encounters several likely suspects loitering outside the library; upon interrogation, they claim to know nothing of any of illicit operation. Exasperated, Officer A insists that on such and such a date he heard word of something “going done.” The suspects a first look confused, but then one of them remembers seeing on the news that there was going to be a drastic change in the weather this past night, and there was some talk about how they were going to survive it. But not to worry—public library will soon be open, and they can stay in there all day.

Undercover Officer B. Mission: Uncover evidence of felonious behavior, disease, terrorist plotting and subversion against the American Way at a cabbage farm. Report: “Criminal and un-American activity in epidemic proportions. Forced to spend 12-hours a day in the field picking cabbage in 110 degree heat for low pay. Also criminally difficult on the back. Some workers criminally shame me by working longer hours. Criminally forced to live in a shack with other workers, sleep on a cot, and eat food not fit for a Real American. I expect to die from disease just being in their presence. Just criminal. I whine and moan all day, but other workers just laugh at me. Making Americans work this is terrorizing, and subverts all the television programming, commercials and political propaganda I have been weaned on and has been a part of my training. Hospitalized for heat stroke and boredom, forced to call off operation.”

Undercover FBI Agent C. Mission: Follow low or no-income healthcare cheats to the hospital, and uncover evidence that no one is really sick enough to require affordable health insurance. Agent C calls many doctors for treatment for phony pain in his chest. Receptionists asks him what insurance he has. He says none. Sorry, we are not taking new patients this year. One after another. He finally tells one he feels as if he is dying. He is told if it is an emergency, then go to the emergency room. Agent C is confused. He is supposed to be pursuing criminals cheating the “system,” but who is being “cheated”? He goes to the emergency room and tells the check-in nurse that he’s having a heart attack; the nurse looks at him and with unfeigned indifference tells him to take a seat until he’s called. He observes people with head wounds, broken bones, bruises and concern-inducing pustules. Others bring in waling infants in obvious distress; a few remind him of a cat with distemper. After an hour of waiting Agent C realizes that the only phony there  is himself, and the only “criminal” is “the system.”

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