Photo by Paul Sableman via Flickr Creative Commons

Local Agent Provocateurs?

By Julius Stronghold

Has We Are Change Fresno been the target of agent provocateurs?

There is a reasonable amount of evidence that We Are Change Fresno, a local activist group seeking to spread awareness about 9/11 Truth and other related issues, has been the target of at least two separate agent provocateurs. The latest incident took place last month, whereas the first happened soon after the group’s formation in June 2009.

Kenn Herman, Incident No. 1

Kenn Herman

On the evening of June 15, 2009, We Are Change Fresno had its second official meeting at a Starbucks in Clovis. Although it was only the second meeting, much had already been accomplished. At this meeting, a man named Kenn Herman (aka Elthadiya) attended and wasted no time in displaying classic agent provocateur behavior. Some of what can be recalled about what he did and said is as follows:

  • Suggested we start a violent revolution.
  • Suggested we use Che Guevara as our model.
  • Suggested we get guns and start shooting people.
  • Suggested we slash tires of police cars.
  • Suggested we graffiti our messages on other people’s property.
  • Suggested many other illegal and violent acts. Essentially, every positive and peaceful suggestion we would discuss and propose, he would counter-propose the same idea but would add illegal and violent behavior into the mix.
  • Frequently brought up “fringe” topics outside the typical scope of We Are Change to divert the discussion.
  • Lied about how he found out about the meeting.
  • Brought a high-powered camera with him and asked a woman he was sitting near to walk around the group and take pictures of everyone for his MySpace account—a MySpace account that did not exist.
  • When it was explained to him why some people might be uncomfortable with him photographing them, he was apologetic and said he would delete the pictures when he got home. When pressed to delete them at the meeting, his demeanor completely changed, accusing the members of being an anti-freedom group trying to encroach on his freedom.
  • When he was told that it was basically known who he worked for, he quickly walked away yelling that he’d remember everyone’s faces, strangely not denying the assertion.
  • Once confronted, he never returned and deleted his Meetup account.

Although it cannot be known with 100% certainty that Herman was an agent provocateur, it can be determined that he has a criminal record including assault with a deadly weapon and theft (Fresno County Case No. M98903999-1). This suggests the possibility that he might have been a criminal informant working for law enforcement, with attempting to provocateur the group as one of his assignments.

James Bourne, Incident No. 2

James Bourne

More recently, on Sept. 9, 2011, a new member joined We Are Change Fresno through the online Meetup site. His name was James Bourne, which is fairly comical considering the resemblance to the name of the secret agent Jason Bourne of the Bourne trilogy movies. After joining, he immediately began an online discussion thread that he titled, “Using riots to get the word across?” During this discussion, he repeatedly attempted to lead We Are Change Fresno into violence and criminal behavior at an upcoming street action that was on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Here’s a summary of his behavior and suggestions:

  • Suggested the group revolt against our local government.
  • Suggested the group “stage” riots.
  • Suggested the group march with the purpose of blocking traffic.
  • Suggested the group “go extreme.”
  • Suggested members cross the street when the lights turn red.
  • Suggested bringing bricks.
  • Suggested bringing baseball bats.

After he started making such suggestions, it was made known to him that if he showed up at the street action, the police would be waiting for him and the ordeal would be videotaped and placed on YouTube. This threat, which was made good on by one of the members calling the Fresno Police Department, prevented him from showing up and disrupting the street action. Strangely, afterward he claimed he was hiding out on the other side of the street at a fast-food restaurant where he witnessed the police presence and took photos of the group. Shortly thereafter, he was kicked out of the We Are Change Fresno Meetup group and then he immediately deleted his account.

With law enforcement sending in undercover police at local lectures on veganism, to the well-publicized infiltration of Peace Fresno, it’s not too hard to fathom that the government would want to disrupt a local activist group that is critical of the official story of Sept. 11, 2001. These incidents are good lessons on the need to remain peaceful but also to take direct action at confronting all individuals who attempt to provoke any activist group into committing acts of violence and other crimes. Peace out!

*****

Julius Stronghold is the editor of FresnoForward.com. Contact him at fresnoforward@nym.hush.com.

  • The Community Alliance is a monthly newspaper that has been published in Fresno, California, since 1996. The purpose of the newspaper is to help build a progressive movement for social and economic justice.

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