Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Joshua Sparling: Agent Provocateur?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on January 29, 2007

It’s sure beginning to look that way. From the comments over at Digby’s blog:

As someone who was at the CODEPINK event – here’s my take on that and the march in general – and who saw Sparling up close and personal, I thought I’d weigh in. We were close to the front of the event because we were there early and my girlfriend wanted a good spot to take photos. Shortly after the event began, I noticed Sparling and his small group – himself, a woman wearing the same 82nd Airborne sweatshirt and another young man – push their way to the front. By the time they made their move, the crowd was packed pretty tight, so I don’t see how they could have made it so close (just to the left of the front) without some pushing.

When everyone would cheer a particular speaker, he first stood out by loudly booing. He would also give a thumbs down gesture to accompany those boos. One of the official speakers, a woman who formerly served in the armed forces, went over to him, and the two appeared to have a civil conversation. When a man who was taking pictures went over, Sparling appeared to be shouting in his face to move the camera. Later, when the female veteran spoke, she mentioned his service and our appreciation for it and there was a good round of applause. Nothing that would lead someone to characterize anyone as un-American.

I missed his impromptu speech because myself and my girlfriend were helping keep the CODEPINK protesters on the sidewalk as we marched to the full protest. That said, I sincerely doubt Sparling was treated with disrespect on our side of the street. (I didn’t notice anyone on his side of the street barring a few curious folks who appeared to be taking pictures of the counter-protesters.) The worst I saw anyone from our side do in response to a counter-protester was throw up a fist or peace sign. When someone shouted, it wasn’t profane. Now, on the other hand, Sparling’s Freeper friends across the street had spent the better part of an hour holding up ridiculous signs like “Anti-American peaceniks think sedition is patriotic” and “We gave peace a chance. We got 9/11”. Also, they hung an effigy of Jane Fonda. These weren’t friendly people. They were people looking to provoke a response. That they got it in the form of spitting, based on everything I saw Saturday, seems laughable on its face.

Before I even noticed Sparling’s leg, I thought the kid was a right-wing plant in our group. I thought we were going to be marching, peacefully, and this kid would break a window or otherwise do something to make for an ugly scene, making what was actually a peaceful protest look anything but. It looked to me like he was taking great pains to stand out in what he was doing. For anyone to portray Sparling as an innocent actor in Saturday’s events while making the CODEPINK attendees out to be a rabid mob boggles the mind. Our group was 90 percent women, including children and grandmothers. Half of the guys there didn’t look like they could hurt a fly. I can safely say Sparling and his group showed up looking to start something, something that, from the looks of your citations, appears to be a pattern.

Joseph | Homepage | 01.29.07 – 12:19 am | #

Somehow, this doesn’t surprise me at all.

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