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Bring In The Drones: Provocateurs and Moral Protest

As far as anyone knew I was part of this cause -- a cause that I had infiltrated the day before in order to mock and undermine in the pages of The American Spectator -- and I wasn’t giving up before I had my story.

Patrick Howley
Editorial Assistant, The American Spectator

Here’s a story from the annals of fools posing as journalists.

After a pepper spray melee October 8th at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC in which several people I know were painfully sprayed, it was revealed that one of at least two provocateurs whipping up the guards and cops was a writer from a right-wing magazine, The American Spectator.

Op-ed News photographer Cheryl Biren was at the museum and noticed a beefy man in a black t-shirt whose aggressive actions seemed to her the actions of a “provocateur.” She sent out a query with 27 shots of the man to see if anyone knew who he was. He's seen charging a guard in Biren's photo below; the man directly behind him in a tan jacket is American Spectator Editorial Assistant Patrick Howley.

Those of us who have worked for decades as non-violent antiwar peace activists talk about these sorts of individuals in cretinous terms. They are the bane of our existence. Why? Because they intentionally whip things up to a frenzy to distract from a protest’s intended message. They do this by provoking the police into what might be termed cop-riot-mode where they feel the need to indiscriminately whack people with batons and/or spray them with pepper spray.

This is exactly what happened October 8th at the Air and Space Museum, where these men and possibly others shoved their way into the museum lobby and went a long way toward creating a melee out of what was to be a moral protest of the US drone program.

 Cheryl Biren/opednews.comPatrick Howley is behind the beefy man, here, shoving his way into the museum lobby. Photo: Cheryl Biren/

The Economist, a respected international news magazine, wrote about Howley’s operation in the Air and Space Museum and called him a “conservative jackass." The online Economist writer M.S. was making both a reference to the TV show “Jackass,” where people do stupid, dangerous things on camera, and, presumably, reflecting on Howley’s thinking as he was rushing around in the Air and Space Museum like John Wayne hitting the beach at Iwo Jima.


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