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« N&R sold | Main | No take backs! »

Jan 31, 2013


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"she seems to have done more than just alert the police to bad things happening at events she attended."

I'm curious...like what? I'm seeing a mountain being built out of a molehill.

Ed Cone

The article includes examples of Marikay reporting to the cops on who attended meetings, what flags they waved, what other groups they were (allegedly) associated with, and so on.

That's not the same thing as just reporting harassment or forwarding emails.

Eric Robert

No molehill here Brian...this is as serious as it is disappointing.


I guess I just don't see enough there in the article to convict Abuzuaiter of anything. So people attended meetings. Did she provide lists of people to the police? She described on one occasion "jihadist" flags. Is it wrong to share - in this day and age - that the police may be interested to know there are people (doesn't seem like she named names) - waying jihadist flags? She just sounds like a concerned citizen to me...remember it appears much of this was prior to her being an elected official. I think Eric may be on to something, but I see the linking of Marikay as a confidential informant when it doesn't appear she maid any real attempts to be anonymous as a bit of a leap. Was she paid? Was she provided anything in exchange for sharing that information? Did she point fingers at specific people?

I do not know Marikay other than having exchanged a few emails with her, but it seems there is an awful quick attempt at judging her actions based on one article written by someone who certainly had a bias, which to his credit he stated. I think the evidence against her at this point is fairly weak.

Eric Robert

One of the instance involved a middle eastern gathering, a group that clearly did not perceive Marikay as an outsider...the civic ramifications should call for greater concern...should Marikay be involved in committees or tasks force on issues initiated by the Police department? Can she be objective? I have been a fan of Marikay for her personality and stance on many issues so this news is a head scratcher...a "say it ain't so" moment.

Ed Cone

You're moving the goalposts, Brian. It's not about "convicting" her for something, it's about her having a close, information-sharing relationship with the police that may come as a surprise to people who thought she was just another person at a meeting.

Cops could probably attend some of these meetings, and probably had eyes and ears at some of them. This is about her relationship to other people and to groups that is at risk going forward.

You might say, hey, that nice woman I met at the rally seems no different to me now that I know she was taking notes for the GPD, but surely others might feel differently.


An informer.


Yes! Now has an article up with: "The City of Greensboro attempted — and failed — to obtain a temporary restraining order against YES! Weekly on Tuesday evening to stop the distribution of information it says was accidentally given to the paper in public-information requests. "

Clowns. It would be even more laughable if I didn't have that Smokey Robinson song running through my head.



"Also, GPD has been watching local and area groups forever."

So what is all the fuss about? Marikay helping out The Man? The Man watching the Kids to make sure they don't set the woods on fire?

There is nothing to see here, folks. Certainly nothing warranting the amount of attention it is being given.

Eric Robert

What is Yes Weekly going to do with all of the other informants names it was sensitive enough not to print?

I must say that I am still having a hard time with the whole Marikay thing...was she sacrificed/leaked by her own? It simply does not feel right... I would not have been as shocked if some other council members were implicated.

Will anyone be held accountable for what is certainly great journalism on the part of Yes Weekly, but a MASSIVE screw up on the part of the City?


"That's one of the reasons people are still talking about the 1979 Klan-Nazi-CWP killings -- law enforcement was deeply wired yet did not stop the massacre from going down."

"The Massacre!"

How I love the way people use words in support of a worldview agenda! Some people just won't be satisfied until Nelson Johnson gets his Police Review Star Chamber up and running.

What we have here is an obvious insight into Cone's forthcoming magnum opus: "Bury My Heart at Morningside Homes".

sal leone

The City threw Marikay under the bus here, BIG TIME. I work in Govt and you dont give up your CI, lives are at stake. The story Yes Weekly printed is more than likely the story of the year.

There needs to be a hearing and let Marikay defend herself if she likes. The career of Marikay is at stake and her trust with people. I like to hear what she has to say in her defense, this is America and everyone has the right to defend themselves.

But still the City is at fault and who released the information should be fired, serious breach of information. The other thing that is funny is that we pay tax dollars for cops to read blogs, seems like we have a secret police, back to the 30's and 40's of Germany we go


Why should she have to defend herself? Because she let some liberals down by selling them out to "the Man"? Isn't this just "say it isn't so, Joe"?

I'm willing to bet that if this article was about the Tea Party or C4GC being monitored (and they probably are or have been), or Jodi Riddleberger being an informant, then the reaction would be quite different. (Que the "false equivalence" response)

But because it focuses on liberal groups and a liberal Benedict Arnold, there is some kind of outcry ipso facto.

Eric Robert

This has nothing to do with right vs left...this has to do with right vs wrong . Like Sal said a lady's career and credibility are at stake; and please, let's not forget that there are a few unbalanced individuals out there (right and left), so it could very well be that a lady's safety is also in the balance...public figure or not...Some of the groups mentioned are not known for their tolerance.

If the city can't protect/defend its own , why do we believe that they would do it for us?. I hope that there is some accountability in the long run and that all the responsible parties get what is coming to them. Yes Weekly did its job (very well I might add)...the city of Greensboro and the Police dpt did not!

Andrew Brod

With Spag it's always about right vs. left.

David Hoggard

That would have been actual equivalence, Sam. Key words, though, are "would have". As far as we know your make believe equivalence didn't happen for us to compare, so you have fabricated a false equivalence to construct another favorite here: the straw man.

I think you have successfully spawned new genre of argument for us all to emulate: the false equivalent straw man. And what a handsome straw man it is. Impressive.

(But I do understand your point)


Who was in charge of letting the info out,
and who may be the fall guy who went through the info
and didn't red flag it?

"I'm willing to bet that if this article was about the Tea Party or C4GC being monitored (and they probably are or have been), or Jodi Riddleberger being an informant, then the reaction would be quite different." -- Spag
This is not a partisan issue and Jodie Riddleberger is very much right on. -- Me
That's dopey, Sam. We have a close comparison. When Riddleberger was shut down as a speaker from the floor at County Commissioner's meeting, non-conservatives came to her defense. Your insistence that everything be filtered by partisanship keeps your perspective very small, but you are simply wrong when you imagine others do the same. When it comes to civil liberties, grown-ups recognize them as too important to subvert to your partisan bullcrap.

"Who was in charge of letting the info out,
and who may be the fall guy who went through the info
and didn't red flag it?" -- Hartzman

Oooh! Ooooh! I know!

Back in November of 2009, before Marikay or the mayor had even taken office and the GPAC was just a gleam in his eye, Perkins determined that Marikay would oppose him on it and set about to devise a way to embarrass her. Not to stop her or persuade her, but embarrass her. So he called a sergeant in the GPD and said, "Hey, man, could you write an email that says Marikay is a confidential informant, because I have a feeling Roch Smith is going to inspire Yes!Weekly to write an article about police surveillance in a few years that will result in over 10,000 emails being given to Eric Ginsberg and I want one embarrassing to her to be among them so that I can get the PAC approved."

To which the sergeant replied, "Brilliant! You got it, man."


Okay Ed, I don't dispute there may well be consequences for Marikay, but the spirit of the article seems to condemn her for her actions. I see a significant difference between her being at meetings she wanted to be at versus meetings the police asked her to be at. I'm not seeing any evidence - yet - that says she went to these meetings at the request of the PD. To your post above - how loosely does the PD use the term "confidential informant"? Again, that implies to me a bit of quid pro quo, and the article suggests nothing of the sort. If I was Marikay, I would push back against that characterization if it isn't true. Not to split hairs, but the article doesn't say she was alerting the cops to any "bad things" but rather she was being proactive and cautious. Again, I'm not saying that her sharing information with the PD unbeknownst to some people won't affect some of her relationships, but I just don't see a smoking gun. And why did Eric and Yes Weekly only release her name and not all of the names?

Ed Cone

"If I was Marikay, I would push back against that characterization if it isn't true."

Absolutely. She deserves a fair hearing.

But if the information about reporting on meetings is substantially true, than the lawyering on her behalf over the definition of CI doesn't impress me much. My point remains: I'd guess a lot of people who thought of her as an ally are unhappy with her now, and will view her attendance at meetings differently in the future.

Account Deleted

A big part of MKA's credibility problem is that she was emailing with the special intelligence division and not, say, the public liason, the patrol commander or some other police commander acting in a basic public safety capacity.

How did she develop a relationship specifically with the intelligence division, when and to what basic purpose?

The answer probably lies near this quote:

“Marikay said you can call her, just keep her involvement among us. She was very reliable and hates Hopkins so there is plenty of motivation.”


What was she reporting Ed? The article doesn't provide us with anything significant or really specific. "People with jihadist flags." That's it. It mentions notes were sent by Marikay implying there was something damning in those notes. Marikay went through the Citizen's Police Academy - perhaps she developed relationships with specific people in the department through that process. While I don't deny that the substance of the reporting is a big deal, I find the Yes Weekly article incomplete and rather one-sided...an author intent on proving his point rather than seeing where the info led.

Jeff - that quote caught my eye too, but it is out of context. Why does she hate Hopkins and why is she motivated. Why did she want to keep her "involvement among us"? It seems Eric spoke with Marikay, but didn't ask or report on her side of that?


"What was she reporting Ed?"

Yes! should do a data dump and put the emails they've received online.

Ed Cone

What was she reporting? Brian says the flag story is the only detail in the article, but a glance at the link shows that is incorrect.

In any case, no amount of pleading in a comment thread is going to change the opinions of people who feel burned by a relationship that might not have been what they thought it to be.


Who said I was trying to change opinions? Heck, do we know of people who feel burned by this? Eric Robert has suggested he is disappointed, but I haven't heard a whole lot of chatter one way or the other - perhaps your ears are closer to the ground than mine. I've asked you to point out the details, but you haven't, because they are only generalizations. If I'm incorrect, point out how this is true...don't just refer the reader back to the article. Make it so obvious, that I will be embarrassed. Was she paid? Was there any quid pro quo? Is she on a list of confidential informants, or was the officer quoted using this term loosely? You dismissed the distinction between confidential informant and proactive citizen as "lawyering" for her. I suggest there are serious holes in the story and you suggest people are hurt by her actions. Any evidence of this? Are you disappointed or hurt by this? Eric G. doesn't make reference to anyone who feels they have been wronged by MariKay. If you are suggesting people ought to be disappointed her, I'm thinking you need more of a smoking gun than she took notes at a meeting that she voluntarily attended and passed on information to cops that she thought might be useful in keeping the public safe.


Marikay's actions in the article with my responses. Feel free to add you own.

1. Forwarded emails from Peace & Justice Network.
Anyone can get on the email list. Heck I even spoke at one of their events once.
2. For "years" she has been an informant?
How many years? How frequent?
3. "Gathering intelligence at meetings"
Intelligence is Eric's word, but he doesn't say what that intelligence is.
4. Called to inform PD that Hopkins was planning a protest
So, she doesn't like Hopkins.
5. Called 911 when harrassed by people in van.
Reasonable action, I would think.
6. Organized a candelight vigil that Hopkins came to.
Assumed she called PD, but article doesn't say. Just says he organized a vigil. Big deal.
7. Her emails cover "an array of topics."
Again, a little vague, don't you think. Too many to mention or list?
8. She sent notes to Officer Biffle.
What was in the notes. Where to meet for lunch? No description of content of notes.
9. Forwarded an email about a Hairston Homes gathering.
I'm pretty sure I got this email to. Any reason the police shouldn't know about this or wouldn't have without her email?
10. Sent two photos of a planning map being used by a Coalition to Protest the DNC.
Was this news to the PD? Did she provide something they didn't have? Or is it just that she took pictures that MIGHT cause some to feel betrayed.


So, let's review unanswered questions.

1) "Why should she have to defend herself?
2) "Because she let some liberals down by selling them out to "the Man"?"
3) "Isn't this just "say it isn't so, Joe"?

No reply to any of them. Instead we get David Hoggard confusing a hypothetical argument with a straw man argument.

A hypothetical might begin something like "I'm willing to bet that IF..." whereas a straw man argument involves arguing a point or contention that isn't being made to avoid losing an argument over a point that is being made. Not the same thing at all, and in this case nobody really has made any point. Hence my earlier comment "there is some kind of outcry ipso facto".

Then we are treated to an actual false equivalence by another commenter who basically says "because I supported X on issue Y, ergo I also support X on all other issues". I suppose that could be true, but in the case of that commenter, I seriously doubt it.

Then I am accused of simply being a partisan by a bunch of established partisans. None of who have answered any of my questions. Assuming that Ed is correct, and "GPD has been watching local and area groups forever" why is anyone shocked about any of this? There are no distinguishing factors other than the YES! article focused on Left wing activists. Ergo in the absence of any intelligent argument to the contrary, one can conclude that the issue isn't the well established surveillance, but instead WHO was being watched. The only difference between these groups and persons and others is ideological, ergo one can conclude in the absence of any intelligent argument to the contrary, that all the fuss is related to ideology and a perception that somehow the Good Folks On The Left should be treated differently than all of those bad, hateful people.

As for Marikay, it really is funny watching how many people here seem to be on the verge of tears and anger that she might be a "traitor" to the "Man" (again, this is completely ideological). She was one of us Good Folks On The Left and she might have actually been selling us out to the Man. When people argue that her credibility is now "at stake", they mean her credibility with liberal activist groups (again, completely ideological). Nobody else cares except liberal activists who feel betrayed.

Ed Cone himself essentially admits this when he writes above "My point remains: I'd guess a lot of people who thought of her as an ally are unhappy with her now, and will view her attendance at meetings differently in the future."

What meetings? Not City Council. No, I think Ed is referring to her well known involvement with Left wing organizations. Those kinds of meetings. Again, ideological.

But forget that, I only see things in Left vs. Right. It may because only a fool would see it otherwise after reviewing the facts and the reactions here and trying to find any meaningful distinction for the uproar given that the "GPD has been watching local and area groups forever".

If there was a turncoat within a Right wing movement, nobody here would give a damn unless there was some way to exploit it to further a Left wing agenda. But keep it simple and on point- if C4GC had an informant among them tipping off the cops, I wouldn't care, I suspect C4GC wouldn't care, and nobody here would care. They probably have such a person anyway. (See comments from Ed Cone "GPD has been watching local and area groups forever").

Then someone writes about Marikay that "it could very well be that a lady's safety is also in the balance" only a few sentences before congratulating the very publication that outed her and put her at risk by doing so: "I hope that there is some accountability in the long run and that all the responsible parties get what is coming to them. Yes Weekly did its job (very well I might add)".

The cops DIDN'T out her, YES! did. The cops simply provided documents in response to a request. Perhaps realizing that some were sensitive and/or mistakenly released, they tried to prevent publication. For this lawsuit, they were ridiculed by some of the same people blaming them as if Marikay's actions or the GPD keeping a record of it are somehow the problem as opposed to the perhaps irresponsible publication of said things.

Despite all of the predictable self-righteous bluster, nobody's civil liberties have been jeopardized. You all are just mad and bent out of shape because the cops are watching the freaks as much as the rednecks and to you that is simply morally unconscionable.

David Hoggard

Sam. Your logic, findings of fact and incredulous outrage at the "Left wing agenda" are all impeccable. (BTW, what the hell is the "Left wing agenda" anyway? ... and does it have a "Right wing agenda" counterpart? Are they equally scary?)

So you know... I was funnin' you with my "false equivalent straw man" post.

Lighten up man. You're coming across like someone who just discovered they are being surveilled by the local police.


Except that I wouldn't care.

tk solomon

relax. you're being observed by an organization that promotes everyone to their level of incompetence. the ones who give the orders have been promoted to a higher level of incompetence. superspooks were watching bin ladin for decades and he's still running a huge tab from hell. if these guys weren't voyeurs they would be doing amateur cavity searches somewhere. leave them alone.

sal leone

Well I read everyone's post and see the points everyone is making. I think Eric Roberts hit the nail on the head and is right, if the city can't take care of its own then what does that say for us.

I wrote that Marikay should defend herself, either in hearing format or print because of one issue, she is a public figure. The article makes claims she is a CI for the man and she has built a career of looking out for the people, this is a major conflict.

Sam, you area smart guy and must realize she is a public figure and running for re-election this year, the news has got to hurt her. If I am correct for are a lawyer, so look at it this way, if someone takes the 5th and does not defend him or herself, it looks guilty.
I think Marikay should have the chance to speak out and defend herself, if she is smart she get a lawyer and sue the city for security breach. Lets be real, who is going to trust the city or PD with information if they drop the dime on a council member, who is safe then.

sal leone

I also like to add that Marikay was in my eyes, setup by someone or group inside City Government. Why would anyone give out information on a current Council Member without first checking, what they are sending, who they are sending it to and get approval from a higher up.
Question I have is, was only information to make her look guilty released.
Another thing I find odd is that Yes Weekly is a big Tony Wilkins supporter and Marikay supported Tony, interesting that she got no break from the paper.


Maybe Left wing YES! Or maybe just Left wing Eric at YES! wanted the comrades to know who was the "traitor" in their midst.


Greensboro is an amateur at surveillance.



"So what is all the fuss about? Marikay helping out The Man? The Man watching the Kids to make sure they don't set the woods on fire? There is nothing to see here, folks. Certainly nothing warranting the amount of attention it is being given." -- Sam Spagnola

From one of the emails Yes!Weekly just posted, sent by Greensboro City Council representative Marikay Abuzuaiter to a police detective:

The Tea Party is planning to disrupt the County Executive Meeting Saturday when they elect a new chair. The HQ is going into ready mode next week.

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